A sad day for the Overwatch community
Veteran Blizzard developer Jeff Kaplan is leaving the company after 19 years, right in the middle of Overwatch 2's production.
Kaplan first started working at Blizzard as a Quest writer for World of Warcraft, steadily rising through the ranks over his near two decade stint. When Blizzard was struggling to put together its next MMO - at the time know as Project Titan - Kaplan is sited as the developer who picked up the scraps of the failed project and used them to pitch the idea of Overwatch.
Since then, Kaplan has been the key figurehead in Overwatch's community, delivering all the titles' community updates, taking part in interviews and interacting with fans in ways most lead developers do not.
Jeff's letter to fans about the departure reads:
"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 Aaron Keller, another veteran and founding member of the Overwatch team will be stepping into the role as game director.
Unfortunately for Overwatch fans, it's rarely a good sign when lead developers depart from a project while it is still in the middle of development. Possible speculation leads us to believe there may have been some confrontation between Kaplan and senior Activision-Blizzard management regarding the direction and release window of Overwatch 2.
Nevertheless, Blizzard will to continue to push forward with the sequel to their insanely popular team based shooter under new direction, and hopefully Kaplan quickly finds his feet and remains in game development.
How do you feel about this news? Are you as saddened as us?