Sources told Polygon that Activision Blizzard notified Vicarious Visions employees on Wednesday that as part of an ongoing merger with Blizzard Entertainment, the studio would lose its name.
The studio behind Tony HawkOf professional skaters 1 and 2 And handle the recently released Diablo 2: Resurrection Formally merged with Blizzard Entertainment in January. Vicarious Visions has been working with Overwatch with World of Warcraft The publisher has been around for a while, but the formal merger means that its main focus will shift to “long-term support” for Blizzard games.
Employees at Vicarious Visions told Polygon that their initial impression of the merger meant that their employer would continue to operate as their own studio, even though it was owned by Blizzard. At the town hall meeting on Wednesday morning, news came about the name drop. The new name of the studio has not yet been announced, but some staff speculate that it could simply be called Blizzard Albany. (Vicarious Visions’ office is in Albany, New York. Blizzard usually uses this naming convention for its satellite offices, such as Blizzard Austin, Texas.)
In August, former Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal was appointed as the co-president of Blizzard Entertainment. (During the January merger, she was named Blizzard’s executive vice president of development.)
Polygon contacted an Activision Blizzard representative to learn about this development. As of the time of publication, we have not received a response.
Most of the Vicarious Visions employees who spoke to Polygon said they were not necessarily surprised by the news. Some pointed out that it was “written on the wall”. But at least one worker was disappointed by the lack of transparency and the sudden announcement at the “easy and fast” meeting employees called Makeup Day. Some employees wore Halloween costumes during the call.
According to employees who spoke with Polygon, the leadership stated that there are currently no plans for layoffs. Since the merger has been announced and is in progress, the staff is not expected to change much, but some employees pointed out that there are still many questions that have not been answered.
An employee told Polygon: “Although all the leadership is talking about being more transparent in dealing with litigation and the resulting fiasco, the fact that they decided to keep us all in the dark, it feels like you can The result is far from transparent.”
Vicarious Visions was founded in Albany, New York in 1991 by the then high school students Karthik and Guha Bala, who now lead Velan Studios Knockout city For electronic art. The Balas family sold the studio to Activision in 2005 and left it in 2016.
Before the studio and Blizzard Entertainment officially merged, Vicarious Visions worked for companies such as Ultimate Spider-Man, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast with Jedi Academy.
Activision Blizzard is currently facing widespread accusations that it maintains a toxic work environment that is particularly hostile to women. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) conducted a two-year investigation of the company before filing the lawsuit, and found that women were paid lower wages and were sexually harassed, and did not impose meaningful punishment on the perpetrators. Since the lawsuit was filed at the end of July, DFEH has expanded the scope of its complaint to include allegations that Activision Blizzard “suppressed” evidence in its investigation. The company denied this statement.
Activision Blizzard is currently facing multiple lawsuits and investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. One of the lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was settled for US$18 million earlier this year.
In the months following the initial DFEH lawsuit, more than 40 Activision Blizzard employees have been disciplined.Also after this, Blizzard honored the rename Overwatch The role formerly known as Jesse McRae: He is now Col Cassidy.
The company’s employees continue to speak out on social media and elsewhere to encourage substantial change. You can read more about the allegations against Activision Blizzard in Polygon’s explainer.