Earlier today Blizzard announced that Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch's game director, has left the company. Where Jeff is headed is unclear, but we do know who is stepping into his role within Overwatch, Aaron Keller.
Kaplan has been a mainstay with Overwatch since the initial Titan MMO days. However, his tenure at Blizzard goes farther than that, having joined the company in 2002 working on World of Warcraft. In 2009, Kaplan started work on Titan, the game which would eventually turn into what is known now as Overwatch.
"We want to let you know that Jeff Kaplan has decided to leave the company after a long and storied career here," Blizzard said in a statement on the Overwatch website.
Jeff, for his part, left a personal note to worried Overwatch fans about his departure.
"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.
While we don't know what the future holds for Kaplan, his departure comes amid a few recent higher profile departures from Blizzard, including WoW Classic architect Omar Gonzalez. Gonzalez left the company to work for former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime at Dreamhaven.
Help us thank Jeff Kaplan for being the Mercy to our Genji. Thank you for always daring to see the world as it could be.Also, help us welcome Aaron Keller as Overwatch's new Game Director. We can't wait to continue fighting for the future with you.?? https://t.co/119g1mIh4M pic.twitter.com/w2Pmq3sBKn— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) April 20, 2021
Aaron Keller penned a note to Overwatch fans today as well with the news, assuring fans that Overwatch 2 was still in development and going at a "good pace."
"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. "
Overwatch 2 aims to bring a single-player component to the hero shooter, most recently being show off at this year's BlizzConline 2021. You can check out the behind the scenes from the team in the embed below.