Jeff Kaplan tributes disappear from Overwatch 2 as Blizzard removes all IRL reference

Bill Cooney
Jeff Kaplan tribute Overwatch 2 New York map
Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard has apparently removed the tributes to Jeff Kaplan on Overwatch 2’s New York map after his departure from the company earlier in the year.

Some of the biggest Overwatch news of 2021 had to be Jeff Kaplan stepping away from his position as director and leaving Blizzard.

When the news of Jeff’s departure broke back in April 2021 fans were understandably distraught. Since Overwatch’s release “Uncle Jeff” had been there right along with us.

The game’s new lead Aaron Keller quickly stepped up to his role though, and devs even included some classy tributes to Kaplan throughout the New York map in Overwatch 2. Following the OWL’s PvP scrim in OW 2 during the 2021 Grand Finals, however, it seems those tributes have been removed.

During the trailer officially unveiling Bastion’s wild new Overwatch 2 rework, several players including u/CeeLo38, noticed that “Jeph’s Corner Pizza” was now just called “Corner Pizza.”

Now, being that Overwatch 2 isn’t out yet, we can’t exactly load the map up to see what else has changed. That being said though if the pizza shop has been revamped, there’s a good chance “Jeph’s” coffee cup on the subway is also gone or altered.

But why would Blizzard do this? The good news is that it’s probably not a direct slight at Jeff, based on what devs have said about future creative and design decisions related to the episode surrounding the cowboy hero formerly known as McCree.

In the fallout from that, devs announced they would no longer be using the names of real-life people to name heroes, characters, locations, or anything else in Overwatch going forward. Unfortunately, it seems this is a blanket rule that even extends to Jeff, the “father” of Overwatch himself.

Jeff Kaplan tribute Overwatch 2 NY subway
Blizzard Entertainment
Jeff’s cup might also be altered, but there could be one tribute to the former director that survives the cull.

But, there might be one tribute that can survive this purge, and that’s the “Green Hills of Stanglethorn” book that Jeff’s coffee cup is sitting on. The book is a reference to one of the most infamous WoW Classic quests of the same name, where you had to collect every page of the story and turn them in.

It took forever, and players hated it, but Kaplan wrote it all himself back when he worked on the WoW team. So, if that green tome is still on the subway, it could be the lone surviving tribute to Jeff on the map, and also sneakily imply his existence in the Overwatch universe itself.