Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has actually validated that he is leaving Blizzard after twenty years with the business. Kaplan has actually been at the center of the Overwatch neighborhood considering that the start, offering motivation for players with his journey from player to video game dev, and helping with a microcosm of fans that are confident to geek out and belong of the Blizzard household.
The news of Kaplan’s departure is stunning, and it was exposed when the business required to the Blizzard Blog to information the modification in management for Overwatch moving forward. Though he is leaving the Overwatch neighborhood as the video game director, Blizzard guarantees fans that Overwatch 2 is continuing in its advancement under the helm of Aaron Keller. Keller is an establishing member of the Overwatch group, and he will be taking control of Kaplan’s function moving forward.
“Speaking of Overwatch 2, advancement is continuing at an excellent rate,” stated Keller in an open letter to fans. “We have an extraordinary vision we’re carrying out on, the response from much of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline delighted us, and we have actually amazing exposes prepared for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch. We’ll be sharing more regular updates about Overwatch 2 development and brand-new functions in the live video game with you all soon.”
Kaplan himself weighed in with his own individual note, stating, “It was really the honor of a life time to have the chance to produce worlds and heroes for such an enthusiastic audience. i wish to reveal my deep gratitude to everybody at blizzard who supported our video games, our video game groups, and our gamers. however I wish to state an unique thanks to the fantastic video game designers that shared in the journey of production with me.”
Blizzard promises that a more thorough update is on the horizon. For now, we must state goodbye to Kaplan and everything he has done to keep the Overwatch community wholesome, hopeful, and excited for the future.
This shakeup is a big one and comes on the heels of a rocky several years for the company under Activision’s helm. From censorship regarding the Hong Kong protests to an array of issues regarding transparency that was once a major focus for the company, the feeling of Blizzard and what it stands for has changed dramatically through the years. The major shift was felt when Activision abruptly laid off more than 800 employees despite a profitable year back in 2019. The studio’s reputation took another hit when Activision turned around and immediately sought to hire double that number directly after the fact.
Blizzard has always been revered as one of the closest communities in gaming. With major leadership shifts in recent years and Activision’s financial push regarding several pivotal directional changes regarding the studio’s philosophy, it’s hard not to take the departure of Kaplan as a massive loss to what makes Blizzard so special.
For those curious, you can check out our Overwatch 2 video game center to read more about the future of the franchise and where it goes from here.