Jeff Kaplan, director of Overwatch and undisputed wrestling champion, is leaving Blizzard Entertainment. Kaplan has enjoyed a 19-year history with Blizzard, starting off as a designer for World of Warcraft in 2002. In a message to the community, Kaplan calls his experience an “honor of a lifetime.” He doesn’t mention any reasons for his departure, nor what he’ll be up to next.
Filling his shoes is Aaron Keller, another Blizzard veteran and a founder of Overwatch. Keller will take Kaplan’s role of game director, leading the team as it works to finish Overwatch 2. The announcement notes that Keller has been with Blizzard for 18 years, working alongside Kaplan on Overwatch.
Kaplan’s message to the community is brief, including mostly thanks players, as well as the team at Blizzard he is leaving behind.
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.
Under new management
Keller, now in charge of Overwatch and Overwatch 2 development, also delivered a message to the community. In his letter, he calls Kaplan a “great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him.” On the topic of Overwatch 2, Keller writes that the development won’t be hampered by the changing of the guard and is going “at a good pace.” He mentions that more progress updates for the game are on their way 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.