Overwatch director and creator Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard after nearly 20 years with the company. Kaplan has been the epicenter of the Overwatch community from the very beginning, inspiring gamers with his journey from player to developer.
The news of Kaplan’s departure is shocking, and was revealed by the company on its blog along with the announcement of the change of leadership for Overwatch. Despite Jeff’s farewell the role of game director will not remain vacant: Blizzard indeed. promised fans that Overwatch 2 is continuing its development under the helm of Aaron Keller. Keller is a founding member of the Overwatch team and will take on the role of Kaplan.
“Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace“Keller said in an open letter to fans. “We have an exceptional vision on which we are building e the reaction of many of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline has thrilled us. We have big revelations planned for this year as we get closer to launch. We will share very soon more frequent updates on Overwatch 2 progress and on the new features of the upcoming game ”.
The same Kaplan he replied with one of his own personal note, saying, “It really was 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 has supported our games, our teams and our players but I want to give special thanks to the wonderful developers who shared the journey of creating Overwatch with me ”. Emblematic the absence of any reference to the management of Blizzard itself or Activision. Blizzard promises a more comprehensive update is on the horizon. At the moment, we have to say goodbye to Kaplan and everything he’s done to keep the Overwatch san communitya, full of hope and excited about the future.
This epochal change comes in the wake of some difficult years for the company under the helm of Activision. From censorship related to Hong Kong protests to a number of issues concerning the transparency that was once the focus of the company, fan sentiment towards Blizzard and what it stands for has changed dramatically over the years. The main jolt was felt when Activision abruptly fired more than 800 employees despite a remarkably profitable year in 2019. The studio’s reputation took another hit when Activision changed its mind and immediately tried to hire twice as many people after the fact.
Blizzard has always been revered as one of the most player-conscious gaming communities. After major leadership changes in recent years, Activision’s financial push, the removal of some key management figures and the subversion of the firm’s philosophy, it’s hard not to see Kaplan’s departure as a huge loss for what makes Blizzard so special. All is not lost yet and in conclusion I want to leave you with the words with which Jeff ended his goodbye.
“Never accept the world as it is. He always dares to imagine it for what it could be “.