After 19 years of working for Blizzard Entertainment, Jeff Kaplan has announced he is leaving the company. Kaplan was the director of Overwatch and the frequent public face for the game.
“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” Kaplan said in a letter posted on Blizzard’s official website. “I want to express my deep appreciation to everyone at Blizzard who supported our games, our game teams, and our players. But I want to say a special thanks to the wonderful game developers that shared in the journey of creation with me.”
Blizzard has yet to specify the reasons for Kaplan’s leaving but has assured fans that the development for Overwatch 2 is going along smoothly. Kaplan’s last major appearance was front and center at BlizzCon 2021 divulging updates on Overwatch 2, which had its release date pushed to 2022.
Taking Kaplan’s place as the director of Overwatch is Aaron Keller, an 18-year Blizzard veteran and one of the founding members of the Overwatch team. Keller was originally the assistant director for Overwatch and had previously worked with Kaplan during the development of World of Warcraft.
In a letter to the Overwatch community, Keller writes that “Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and a friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him. I’ve been lucky to work alongside him and the rest of the Overwatch team for many years in building something that continues to inspire people all around the world, and I’m honored to carry the torch forward.” Keller went on to say that they will be “sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game” with the community very soon.
Keller is not only filling Jeff’s position as the director of Overwatch, but is also filling the role of the public face for one of the most beloved competitive games in the world. The Overwatch community is going to miss Jeff Kaplan dearly considering all he has done for the game, from the fun development updates to the authentic fan engagement.
From Stropse, good luck on your future endeavors, Jeff.