Overwatch community reacts to Jeff Kaplan leaving Blizzard: “You’ve got to be joking”

Michael Gwilliam
Overwatch fans honor Jeff KaplanReddit/moonkanin

Members of the Overwatch community – including players, content creators and even Overwatch League teams – honored Jeff Kaplan, as the former Game Director announced he was leaving Blizzard.

On April 20, Blizzard announced that Jeff Kaplan was leaving the company, stating that Aaron Keller would be taking over as Game Director with Overwatch 2 in development.

“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,” Kaplan said in a note posted to the Overwatch website.

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The news was met with disdain by members of the gaming community, coming as a true shock to players.

Popular Overwatch YouTuber Stylosa was one of the first to react on Twitter with a simple: “You have got to be f**king joking me.”

Streamers such as ML7, Fran, and Samito were each shaken by the news, with some even thinking Jeff’s departure would push them to other games. Others, however, were more critical, claiming that the game’s direction was far behind.

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“The new Overwatch leadership will need to make up for the poor direction the game has been taken, we are still 3 years behind the rest of the industries’ business model,” Samito chimed in.

Several Overwatch League teams, including the Houston Outlaws, Florida Mayhem and London Spitfire, changed their profile pictures to Jeff and posted tweets honoring the game developer.

On Reddit, many users posted memes and pictures paying tribute to Kaplan. One post even included a shrine to the former Blizzard Vice President.

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“Papa Jeff shrine at my desk started off as a joke but has been here for years,” the user, moonkanin, captioned the photo. “I don’t plan on taking it down – thank you Papa Jeff for giving us Overwatch.”

The departure of Jeff is certainly a massive shake up, but Aaron Keller is promising some big news on the future of the game coming soon. In his own message to the community, the newly promoted game director wrote that they will be sharing new updates on Overwatch 2 and “new features in the live game” very soon.

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Meme for Jeff Kaplan leaving blizzardReddit/ZenofyMedia/Blizzard Entertainment
Overwatch fans made memes in support of Jeff Kaplan.

It’s unclear if Keller will be partaking in Jeff’s famous “developer update” videos or how he plans on doing things differently than his predecessor.

Nonetheless, given Kaplan’s voice and presence as the head of Overwatch, many are understandably viewing this as a massive loss.

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About The Author

Michael Gwilliam is a senior writer at Dexerto based in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in Overwatch, Smash, influencers, and Twitch culture. Gwilliam has written for sites across Canada including the Toronto Sun. You can contact him at michael.gwilliam@dexerto.com or on Twitter @TheGwilliam