In a breaking announcement posted earlier today, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard. The veteran developer has been responsible for the development of Blizzard’s hero shooter ever since it was first pitched in 2013. Before that he had worked on World of Warcraft and the cancelled Titan.
In the announcement Kaplan does not provide a specific reason as to why he is stepping down. Simply, he calls his time at Blizzard “an honor,” and thanks everyone for supporting him. With Kaplan leaving current assistant game director Aaron Keller will be taking his role. Before joining Blizzard, Keller was best known for his contributions to Realm Royale.
End of an era
It’s no secret that Jeff Kaplan is widely considered one of the industry’s most talented individuals. He has had years of success at Blizzard with almost everything he worked out turning out a success. However, it’s his creation of Overwatch which most know him for. The hero shooter has gone on to become one of Blizzard’s premier brands.
Overwatch isn’t just a video game franchise. Jeff Kaplan came up with an idea and Blizzard expanded it into so much more. We now have Overwatch novels, comic books, and several cinematic shorts.
Kaplan stepping down may have some fans concerned about the fate of Overwatch 2. The long-awaited sequel was first announced at Blizzcon 2019 with further details being revealed at Blizzcon 2021. However, according to Keller you don’t need to be worried.
In his own statement Keller reassures fans that Overwatch 2 is “continuing at a good pace.” Equally, fans can expect “more frequent updates,” on Overwatch 2 going forward. It will be interesting to see how Blizzard proceeds without Jeff Kaplan. He has been a key figure in designing some of its flagship franchises. It’s never easy to lose such a talent but I’m sure everyone involved at Blizzard is ever thankful for Kaplan’s contributions.