Vicarious Visions

Last updated

Vicarious Visions, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Founded1991;30 years ago (1991)
FoundersKarthik Bala
Guha Bala
Key people
  • Simon Ebejer (Studio Head)
  • Aaron Ondek (CTO)
Number of employees
Parent Activision (2005–2021)
Blizzard Entertainment (2021–present)
Website Official website

Vicarious Visions, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Albany, New York. The studio was acquired by and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision in January 2005.


After releasing its last game as part of Activision Publishing, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 , Vicarious Visions was moved from that division within Activision Blizzard into Blizzard Entertainment on January 22, 2021. As part of that transition, Simon Ebejer became studio head. [1]

Studio history

The studio was founded by brothers Karthik and Guha Bala in 1991 while they were in high school. [2] In the late 1990s, Vicarious Visions appointed Michael Marvin, an Albany-based investor and entrepreneur, and founder and former CEO of MapInfo Corporation; and Charles S. Jones, investor, who sat on the boards of various software and industrial companies including Geac and PSDI, to its board of directors. Under their leadership, a sale of the company was negotiated to Activision, earning the original investors over 20x their initial investment.[ citation needed ] In January 2005, Vicarious Visions was acquired by publisher Activision. In June 2007, Activision closed the Vicarious Visions' office in Mountain View, California. [3] On April 5, 2016, the Bala brothers announced that they had left the company. [4] The brothers then founded Velan Studios in November 2016. [5]

On January 22, 2021, Vicarious Visions was moved by Activision Blizzard from a subsidiary of Activision to a subsidiary of Blizzard Entertainment. Going forward, the more than 200 employees of Vicarious Visions will be employees of Blizzard. [6] Vicarious had been working with Blizzard for about two years prior to this announcement, and specifically on the planned remaster of Diablo II , Diablo II: Resurrected , and Blizzard felt the move would be best as to have Vicarious' group provide continued support not only on the remaster but also on other Diablo properties including Diablo IV . [7] [8]

Game history

Terminus , an online multiplayer space trading and combat simulation game, won two Independent Games Festival Awards in 1999. They became known as a leading developer of handheld games breaking ground by the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, developing Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS titles in the franchise's main series as well as one spin off. They developed the first three Crash Bandicoot GBA games. Vicarious Visions developed Spider-Man , Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro , Ultimate Spider-Man , Crash Nitro Kart , Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast , Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy , and Doom 3 for the Xbox. Vicarious Visions developed for the Guitar Hero series on the Nintendo DS and Wii platforms. For Guitar Hero: On Tour , Vicarious Visions created the "Guitar Grip" peripheral for the Nintendo DS, which emulates the guitar controller for the portable system.

It was revealed on June 10, 2011, that Vicarious Visions was working on the 3DS version of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure . [9] On December 8, 2016, Vicarious Visions announced that they were partnering with Bungie to work on the Destiny franchise. [10]

Game engine

Vicarious Visions Alchemy is the company's game engine. It was released in 2002. It was originally called Intrinsic Alchemy and developed by Intrinsic Graphics before being renamed after Vicarious Visions acquired Intrinsic Graphics in 2003. [11]

Games developed

1996 Synnergist Microsoft DOS (PC CD-ROM)
1997 Dark Angael Microsoft Windows
1999Zebco Fishing! Game Boy Color
Vigilante 8
2000 Polaris SnoCross Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, PlayStation
Terminus Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux
Spider-Man Game Boy Color
The Wild Thornberrys: Rambler
Pro Darts
Barbie: Magic Genie Adventure
Jimmy White's Cue Ball
2001Wanadoo SnowCrossGame Boy Color, Microsoft Windows
Rescue Heroes: Fire Frenzy Game Boy Color
Blue's Clues: Blue's Alphabet Book
SpongeBob SquarePants: Legend of the Lost Spatula
Zoboomafoo: Playtime in Zobooland
Monsters, Inc.
Kelly Club: Clubhouse Fun
Sea-Doo Hydrocross PlayStation
Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Game Boy Advance
Power Rangers: Time Force
Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace
2002 Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Frogger Advance: The Great Quest
SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman
The Powerpuff Girls: Him and Seek
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 Game Boy Advance, PlayStation
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast GameCube, Xbox
WhiteoutMicrosoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
2003The Muppets: On With The Show!Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced Game Boy Advance
Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend
X2: Wolverine's Revenge
Finding Nemo
Jet Set Radio
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure
Disney's The Lion King 1½
Tony Hawk's Underground
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
Disney's Brother Bear
Crash Nitro Kart Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, N-Gage
Spy Muppets: License to Croak Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Xbox
2004Rivet Mobile phone
Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock
Shrek 2 Game Boy Advance
Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage and Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy
Shark Tale
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
That's So Raven
Shrek 2: Beg For Mercy!
Codename: Kids Next Door – Operation: S.O.D.A.
Spider-Man 2 Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable
2005 Doom 3 Xbox
Madagascar: Operation Penguin Game Boy Advance
Batman Begins
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse PlayStation Portable
Madagascar Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Ultimate Spider-Man
Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
2006 Over the Hedge
Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts Game Boy Advance
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Nintendo DS
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance PlayStation Portable, Wii
2007 Spider-Man 3 Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii
Shrek the Third Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Wii
Transformers: Decepticons Nintendo DS
Transformers: Autobots
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
Bee Movie Game
2008 Kung Fu Panda
Guitar Hero: On Tour
007: Quantum of Solace
Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Wii
Guitar Hero World Tour
2009 Guitar Hero 5
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Band Hero Nintendo DS, Wii
Mixed Messages DSiWare
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Decepticons Nintendo DS
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - Autobots
Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits
2010Transformers War for Cybertron: Decepticons
Transformers War for Cybertron: Autobots
Guitar Hero iOS
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Wii
2011 Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Nintendo 3DS
2012 Skylanders: Cloud Patrol iOS, Android, Kindle Fire
Skylanders: Lost Islands iOS, Android
Skylanders: Battlegrounds
Skylanders: Giants Wii U
2013 Skylanders: Swap Force PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, [12] Xbox 360, Xbox One
2014 Skylanders: Trap Team iOS, Android, Kindle Fire
2015 Skylanders: SuperChargers PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, iOS
2016 Skylanders: Imaginators (Crash Edition) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
2017 Destiny 2 (as a support team for Bungie)Microsoft Windows
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
2020 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
2021 Diablo II: Resurrected PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC [13]

Cancelled games

2000AMF Xtreme BowlingGame Boy Color
VR Sports Powerboat Racing
2001 Sea-Doo Hydrocross Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, N64
2008Call of Duty: Roman WarsMicrosoft Windows, PS3, Xbox 360
2010DJ Hero 3D3DS
2011Guitar Hero 7PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
2012Untitled Crash Bandicoot game
2017Untitled Skylanders gamePS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Switch, Wii U

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  11. "Vicarious Visions Acquires Intrinsic Graphics Technology". Retrieved June 15, 2019.
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