Earlier today, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan announced his departure from Blizzard in a letter to the Overwatch Community. In that letter, Kaplan says that he is leaving Blizzard after “19 amazing years” and that “it was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience.”
Jeff Kaplan Announces Departure From Blizzard
In a surprising message to the Overwatch Community, Jeff Kaplan confirmed he is leaving Blizzard Entertainment after almost 20 years working for the company. The announcement came in the form of a heartfelt message thanking the Overwatch Community and everyone at Blizzard.
“Greetings, Overwatch Community,
I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years.
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.
In addition to Kaplan’s message, a statement was released by Overwatch 2 assistant director Aaron Keller who will take over as the Overwatch sequel’s director.
According to Keller, development of Overwatch 2 is “continuing at a good pace” and there are “exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond.”
The full statement from Aaron Keller addressing Jeff Kaplan’s departure and the future of Overwatch 2 can be read below.
“Greetings, Overwatch Community,
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.
Speaking of 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.
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.
All in all, it’s sad to hear that Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard as he’s been such an instrumental part of the team for almost 20 years now. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours, and look forward to seeing the continued development of Overwatch 2 under Aaron Keller.
And as a bonus for the Jeff Kaplan fans out there, we've included one of our all-time favorite videos of Jeff Kaplan where he sits in front of a cozy fire for eight hours.