It’s something of the end of an era over at Blizzard today, as Jeff Kaplan has announced that he’s leaving the company. Kaplan has been at the company for nearly 20 years, and got his start at Blizzard working as a designer and one of the game directors on World of Warcraft and later its first two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Kaplan is perhaps best known, however, as the lead game designer and game director on Overwatch.
Kaplan’s departure was announced today in a news post to the Blizzard website. Neither Kaplan nor Blizzard revealed why he is leaving the company or what’s next for him, and his statement regarding his departure was somewhat short. You can read it in full below:
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.
Kaplan’s important spot on the Overwatch team will be filled by someone who has nearly as much experience working at Blizzard as Kaplan himself does: Aaron Keller. Keller is an 18-year veteran at Blizzard and has been working on Overwatch since the beginning. In addition to taking the reigns on Overwatch, he will also be working on Overwatch 2, and said in a statement today that development on the sequel is “continuing at a good pace.”
Keller added that the Overwatch team has “exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch.” We’re told that we’ll begin to see more Overwatch 2 updates and new features for the original Overwatch “very soon.” Fans have been waiting quite some time for more information on Overwatch 2, so Keller’s statement will likely be good to hear.
So, just like that, Jeff Kaplan has stepped away from his role at Blizzard and Overwatch has a new director. We’ll see if Kaplan announces any new projects in the future, but for now, you can read Aaron Keller’s full statement by hitting the link above.