After almost two decades at Blizzard, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has announced that he’ll be leaving the company. Across 19 years, Kaplan’s career saw him him work on games such as Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft, and Titan, the latter getting the axe and instead being transformed into Overwatch. As the director on its continual development, Kaplan became a beloved source of information in the fan community.
“I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years,” Kaplan wrote.
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, gg. — Jeffrey Kaplan
The man with a plan on Overwatch will be replaced by Blizzard veteran and one of Overwatch’s key creative influences, Aaron Keller, for Overwatch 2. Keller had nothing but praise for his predecessor in a statement of his own.
“Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and 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.”
I love Overwatch. From our first pieces of concept art, to the first maps we built, to the first time I was able to run around as Tracer (who at that early point shot laser beams out of her eyes), this game has just clicked with me. I love its inspiring, hopeful, beautiful world worth fighting for. I love its characters—larger than life, colorful, powerful, and global. And most of all, I love the fast, fluid gameplay requiring teamwork, situational awareness, and quick decision making.
I also recognize that making games at Blizzard has always been a group effort and never about just one point of view. Together with the rest of the team I feel fortunate that we have a deep bench of development and creative leaders, numerous veteran Blizzard artists and designers, and some extremely talented new blood as well–along with tons of support throughout the company for the live game and for Overwatch 2 … While I have no pretenses about filling Jeff’s shoes, I’m excited to step into the game director role and continue to be part of a team that’s putting all of its heart, talent, and focus into the next iteration of Overwatch, and I’m honored to continue serving this incredible community.
Overwatch 2 is still chugging along at a decent clip according to Keller, and the team has “exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond. We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon”. Arguably the most important game in Blizzard’s recent memory, Overwatch launched a thousand hero-shooter imitator ships when it first hit the scene several years ago.
It’s still one of the go-to games within its genre despite the amount of competition that it has spawned in its wake, and its sequel has a few ambitious ideas up its sleeve such as a dedicated campaign mode and multiplayer cross-player with the first game.
Last Updated: April 21, 2021