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Overwatch's game director Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard

By Tim Augustin - on 22 Apr 2021, 11:39pm

Overwatch's game director Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard

Image: Blizzard

End of an era. 

Overwatch’s game director Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard Entertainment. The company announced his leaving on Overwatch’s official website, given that Kaplan has acted as the face of Overwatch since its announcement. Assistant game director Aaron Keller will step up to replace Kaplan in the Overwatch team. 

Kaplan’s departure from Blizzard is rather abrupt, and neither party has given a specific reason for his leaving. Given how important the ex-Overwatch game director has been to the game’s playerbase for the past few years, it clearly wasn’t a simple decision to make. Kaplan had also been working on Overwatch 2 before leaving Blizzard, even appearing at BlizzConline 2021 to present the game. 

Kaplan’s statement reads, in all of its uncapitalised glory:

i am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years. it was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience. 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. never accept the world as it appears to be. always dare to see it for what it could be. i hope you do the same. 

Keller made mention of Overwatch 2 in his statement, saying:

… Development is continuing at a good pace. We have an exceptional vision we’re executing on, the reaction from many of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline thrilled us, and we have exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch. We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon.  

Overwatch is in a rather troubling state, with more and more players departing the game due to its lack of new content. I have trouble finding matches myself, these days. No maps or heroes have been released in-game for a long time and while Overwatch 2 promises all this content and more, the sequel has no firm release date yet.

We don’t know what Kaplan is going to work on after leaving Blizzard, but it’s hard to believe that the next Overwatch developer update won’t begin with, “Hi everyone, this is Jeff from the Overwatch team.”

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