Overwatch 2 Director Jeff Kaplan Announces He Is Leaving Blizzard
After nearly two decades at the company, Kaplan is saying goodbye to Blizzard.
After nearly two decades at the Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan is leaving. Kaplan announced his departure in a personal statement, while an official post on the Overwatch website wished him well and explained what will happen to the game's management structure in his absence.
"I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years," Kaplan in a statement. "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"
Kaplan is, of course, beloved in the Overwatch community as a source of information, discussion, and many memes. But his long career at Blizzard has spanned multiple titles, including the company's other juggernaut title: World of Warcraft. Along with these two games, he also worked on Warcraft 3 and the ill-fated Titan, which became Overwatch.
Aaron Keller, who has a lengthy history at Blizzard and has been a key developer in the creation of Overwatch, will take over directorial duties for Overwatch 2. In the post, Keller also spoke to the departure of Kaplan and the future of Overwatch.
"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."
According to Keller, Overwatch 2 development is "continuing at a good pace" 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."
Although Overwatch 2 is in development, Blizzard has not yet announced a release date for the sequel, which looks to be much more ambitious than the first game.