Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard Entertainment

A long-time industry legend is leaving Blizzard Entertainment.

What you need to know

Jeff Kaplan has been a part of Blizzard Entertainment for over 19 years, most recently as its Overwatch Director.
Today, Blizzard revealed that Jeff Kaplan has decided to leave the company and his position.
Kaplan’s role will be filled by another long-time Blizzard employee, Aaron Keller, who has worked alongside Jeff Kaplan.
Blizzard Entertainment is currently working on Overwatch 2, the flexible sequel to the popular hero shooter Overwatch.

The ranks at Blizzard Entertainment are being shaken up today, with the announcement that Jeff Kaplan, the Overwatch Director, is leaving Blizzard. Jeff Kaplan is an industry legend who has been a part of Blizzard Entertainment for over 19 years. He worked on World of Warcraft, and was in charge of the hugely popular hero shooter Overwatch.

Kaplan leaving the company represents a pretty big change in leadership at Blizzard Entertainment. While Kaplan did not share why he chose to leave the company, or what he plans on doing next, he did leave a personal note regarding his departure from Blizzard, which you can read 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.”

Blizzard has announced that Kaplan’s role will be filled by Aaron Keller, another storied veteran with over 18 years of experience at Blizzard and has worked side-by-side with Kaplan for a long time.

“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.”

Blizzard Entertainment is the company behind Overwatch, which revitalized the hero shooter genre and boasts huge player numbers even years after its release. Blizzard also continues to support Overwatch with new content and features while actively working on Overwatch 2. Overwatch 2 will be a soft sequel to Overwatch that features all-new visuals, PvE gameplay, and much more, but will still support cross-play multiplayer with the original Overwatch.

Overwatch is already one of the best Xbox games for fans of the genre, and Overwatch 2 looks set to improve on it in every way.

You can read Keller’s full letter about becoming the Overwatch Director at Blizzard Entertainment 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.”

Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard Entertainment