Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan Leaving Blizzard After 19 Years

04/20/2021 - 14:06 | By: Robert N. Adams
gg, Papa Jeff

Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years at the company, the company announced today.

Jeff Kaplan is best known as the Game Director and public face of Overwatch and Overwatch 2. He's been a fixture at the game's public events, appearing at Blizzcon, in interviews, and often the sole messager of the game's Developer Updates, the latter of which has often been ruthlessly (and hilariously) parodied to no end. Sadly, it looks like he's made the decision to move on from Blizzard Entertainment.

"[It] was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience," Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan said in an announcement on the game's official website. "[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," Kaplan concluded. [Always] dare to see it for what it could be. [I] hope you do the same."

 
 

Jeff Kaplan has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from New York University and began his career at Blizzard Entertainment as an associate Game Designer in 2002. He spent a fair amount of time working on World of Warcraft before eventually taking on the lead role for Overwatch.

Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan leaving Blizzard Entertainment slice

Who is Replacing Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan?

With Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan leaving the company, that leaves us with one big question — who is going to replace him? That role is going to go to Lead Level Designer Aaron Keller, an 18-year veteran of the company who is one of the founding members of the Overwatch team.

"Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him," Aaron Keller said. "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."

"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."

Aaron Keller will now lead development of Overwatch 2, the hotly-anticipated sequel that has unfortunately been pushed back to 2022 at the earliest. As for Papa Jeff, he hasn't said what he's going to be doing next — but I'm sure he'll continue to do great things in the gaming industry if he wants to.

What do you think about Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan leaving Blizzard Entertainment? Do you think this will have a major effect on the game? Let us know in the comments below!


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Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!