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Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan departs Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years

Blizzard veteran Jeff Kaplan is leaving the company after almost 20 years.
Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan departs Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years

Director of Overwatch Jeff Kaplan has announced he’s leaving Blizzard Entertainment after nearly 20 years.

Kaplan, who has worked across the World of Warcraft franchise and was the lead designer behind Overwatch, announced his departure via a letter on Blizzard's website.

“I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years,” Kaplan wrote. “it was truly the honour 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.

“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."

Overwatch 2 still doesn't have a release date (Picture: Blizzard) 

Aaron Keller, assistant game developer on Overwatch, will replace Kaplan as director on Overwatch 2, who has worked at Blizzard Entertainment for 18 years.

“Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him. 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 honoured to carry the torch forward,” Keller wrote.

He also shared an update on Overwatch 2’s development, writing: “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.”

It’s unclear exactly why Kaplan has decided to leave, but considering he was the main personality behind Overwatch's creation, it's certainly a severe loss for Blizzard.

Overwatch 2 still doesn’t have a release date, with Blizzard stating earlier this year that it won't release in 2021.