After a near 20-year long career at the studio, Jeff Kaplan has announced that he is leaving Blizzard, continuing a trend of long-term creative leads departing from the company. Most recently, Kaplan was in charge of Overwatch and had begun leading development on Overwatch 2.
Kaplan joined Blizzard in 2002 and like most employees at that time, he was tasked with working on World of Warcraft. Kaplan left the WoW team in 2009 to work on Titan, a failed project that paved the way for Overwatch as we know it today.
In a statement posted on the Overwatch website, Kaplan confirmed his departure, adding that it was “the honour of a lifetime” to work on Blizzard's franchises and interact with the studio's passionate audience.
Blizzard already has a replacement lined up, with Aaron Keller, another Blizzard veteran, taking on the leadership role for Overwatch and the upcoming sequel. Keller's statement also briefly touches on Overwatch 2, which is “continuing at a good pace”, teasing that “more frequent updates” will be coming soon.
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KitGuru Says: Blizzard has lost a number of public figures over the last five years, but game development is always a group effort. With that in mind, I'm sure Overwatch 2 remains in good hands, even if the game is further away from release than initially expected.