Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan leaves Blizzard

Bill Cooney
Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

After almost 20 years with Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan has announced he’ll be leaving the company and the news is sending shockwaves through the game’s community.

Ever since the Overwatch was announced, Jeff has always been there leading the way, but on April 20, the Overwatch team announced out of nowhere that he would be leaving Blizzard after 19 years.

In a post announcing the new leadership for Blizzard’s hit shooter, Kaplan, who worked on World of Warcraft before Overwatch, said it was the “honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes” for players.

“I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years,” Kaplan wrote in his farewell. “It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience.”

Signing off, Jeff left us with the words of Dr. Harold Winston, the scientist who raised Overwatch’s Winston: “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. gg, jeffrey kaplan.”

The news that Kaplan is departing Blizzard is so huge because ever since the game was announced at BlizzCon 2014 Jeff been seen as a constant, always there, working behind the curtains on what’s coming next for Overwatch.

The game we all know and love should be in good hands though because replacing Jeff as Director is 18-year Blizzard vet Aaron Keller, who’s been with Overwatch since day one as well.

Aaron Keller, who will be replacing Kaplan as Overwatch’s game director.

“Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him,” Keller wrote in the announcement. “I’ve been lucky to work alongside him and the rest of the Overwatch team for many years in building something that continues to inspire people all around the world, and I’m honored to carry the torch forward.”

While we will miss seeing Jeff at BlizzCon and in Developer Updates, he will always undoubtedly be a part of the Overwatch community. Finally, we can’t think of a better time to add Kaplan’s face as an in-game spray in tribute, something fans have been requesting for years.