Jeff Kaplan, best known as the director of Overwatch, is leaving Blizzard after 19 years with the company. Aaron Keller, an 18-year Blizzard dev who’s worked on Overwatch from the beginning, will take over as director on both Overwatch and Overwatch 2. Additional news on both games is coming soon,
Aaron Keller says in the announcement that Overwatch 2 “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.”
Of course, Kaplan was an especially beloved among the Overwatch community, and it’s going to be a bit hollow seeing any future developer update videos open without a “this is Jeff from the Overwatch team”. Let’s take a minute to remember the memes, goofy quotes, Yule logs, and waifu tier lists that we’re leaving behind.
“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” Kaplan says. “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.”
Kaplan’s departure is one of many losses of high-profile Blizzard employees over the past few years, including Hearthstone director Ben Brode, Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu, Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime, and numerous others. Blizzard’s reputation among fans certainly isn’t what it once was, but here’s hoping that the devs who remain at the company can continue to build games worth caring about.
That Overwatch 2 release date is still a long way off, though.