There’s a good chance that if you’ve played Overwatch in the past five or so years that you’ve seen Jeff Kaplan. He was the Overwatch Game Director for the team-based shooter and was the face of content/balancing updates. He seemed to be one of the more personable execs and just had some sort of affinity with Overwatch fans. He and Blizzard were deep in the trenches and preparing for a big comeback with Overwatch 2 preceding the content drought as Overwatch 1 tailed off.
Make no mistake, losing Kaplan is a pretty big loss for Blizzard and fans alike. He was one of the longer tenured Blizzard employees still at the company as many others left over the years to form their own studio, Dreamhaven. He was the face of the franchise at a time where it really needed to hit big with their sequel, which has already been in development for quite some time.
As of right now, it is unclear why Kaplan decided to leave, but it’s not usually ever a good thing when your game director and the closest person to the franchise exits abruptly. This could have been in the works for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be a net positive for the fate of Overwatch 2. Kaplan always seemed to display a sense of excitement when he talked about Overwatch, so it’s sad to see him go.
Aaron Keller (a Blizzard veteran and Overwatch founder) will now be leading the development of Overwatch 2. The two have worked together for many years while they developed Overwatch and WoW, and he seems to be the best one to take charge on a game that might determine the fate of future Overwatch titles.
Overwatch 2 remains in development, and Keller had the following to say on the Official Blizzard News Site: “Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace. We have an exceptional vision we’re executing on, the reaction from many of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline thrilled us, and we have exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch. We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon. “