Overwatch Lead Character Artist Leaves Blizzard After 12 Years

Renaud Galand's departure from Blizzard comes just one day after the team unveiled new details about Overwatch 2.

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After 12 years at Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch's lead character artist Renaud Galand has left the company to "embark on a new exciting adventure."

Galand shared the news in a lengthy Instagram post featuring a photo of his badge with the words "Team 4" on it, a reference to the internal team within Blizzard responsible for developing the Overwatch franchise.

"It's hard to put into words how much this team, who has supported me through thick and thin over the last decade, means to me," Galand said. "Sharing so many wonderful moments of discovery, joy, fear, excitement, and passion with all of you--whether it was on Project Titan, Overwatch, or Overwatch [sic]--has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I will cherish them forever. You were, are, and always will be my second family."

According to his LinkedIn, Galand joined Blizzard as a character artist in October 2009 on Project Titan, a cancelled MMO that ended up becoming the bones for Overwatch. Galand then traveled all the way up the character artist ladder, becoming the company's Principal II/Lead Character Artist in March 2020. Prior to Blizzard, Galand was a co-founder of the Belgium-based 3D character and environmental art startup Skymonkey Studio from 2008-09.

While working on Overwatch, Galand designed many of the game's heroes. A glance at his ArtStation portfolio shows that he specifically worked on characters like Ashe, Doomfist, Mercy, Mei, Tracer, and Zarya, as well as skins for Genji and Widowmaker across both Overwatch and Overwatch 2.

"I can't wait to play Overwatch 2 when it comes out and discover, as a fan, all the amazing things the team put so much work and love into," Galand said. "You guys are amazing, and the world just isn't ready for what will become the game they will play for years to come."

Galand's departure from Blizzard comes just one day after the Overwatch team, alongside game director Aaron Keller, unveiled a ton of new information about the in-development sequel during a "What's Next" livestream. Perhaps the biggest piece of news from the presentation was the reduction to team sizes from six to five in both Overwatch and Overwatch 2. Other reveals included new maps and modes, like Push and Toronto.

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