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Overwatch director Kaplan is leaving Blizzard

Overwatch director Kaplan is leaving Blizzard

The director of Blizzard's hero shooter Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan (pictured), is leaving the company.

The news was revealed in a post on the firm's website, having worked at Blizzard for some 19 years. Fellow company vet Aaron Keller is stepping up to the position of game director for Overwatch. Kaplan has very much been the public face of the title since it made its debut back in 2016.

"I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years,” Kaplan wrote.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Keller said he has "no pretences about filling Jeff's shoes," going on to say that work on Overwatch 2 is coming along at "a good pace."

"Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him," he said.

"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.

"I love Overwatch. From our first pieces of concept art, to the first maps we built, to the first time I was able to run around as Tracer (who at that early point shot laser beams out of her eyes), this game has just clicked with me. I love its inspiring, hopeful, beautiful world worth fighting for. I love its characters—larger than life, colorful, powerful, and global. And most of all, I love the fast, fluid gameplay requiring teamwork, situational awareness, and quick decision making.

I also recognize that making games at Blizzard has always been a group effort and never about just one point of view. Together with the rest of the team I feel fortunate that we have a deep bench of development and creative leaders, numerous veteran Blizzard artists and designers, and some extremely talented new blood as well—along with tons of support throughout the company for the live game and for Overwatch 2."

Kaplan is the latest Blizzard vet to depart the company.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.