Blizzard Entertainment announced today that its Overwatch director and long-standing face of the game, Jeff Kaplan, will leave the company. In his place, Aaron Keller, Blizzard veteran and Overwatch founding member will step up as the new game director.
Help us thank Jeff Kaplan for being the Mercy to our Genji. Thank you for always daring to see the world as it could be.
Also, help us welcome Aaron Keller as Overwatch's new Game Director. We can't wait to continue fighting for the future with you.
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) April 20, 2021
Jeff Kaplan Leaves Blizzard Entertainment
After over 19 years of leadership, development and contribution, Jeff leaves Blizzard Entertainment and Overwatch. Commonly known as “Papa Jeff,” the former director helped carve Overwatch throughout the years. Whether it was general development blogs or event introductory videos, Jeff always broke the news on what’s next. Ultimately, alongside the team, he helped grow Overwatch into today’s massive title – establishing him as a community figurehead.
In the announcement, he expressed gratitude towards everyone that’s helped Overwatch prosper. “It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” Jeff said. “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.”
Sadly for fans, Jeff Kaplan didn’t explain why he left nor where he goes as he leaves Blizzard. But the community should know that Overwatch is in good hands with Aaron Keller stepping up.
Overwatch Director Aaron Keller
Aaron has been a part of Overwatch from the get-go as a founding member and contributor. He’s been a “critical part of the Overwatch team and a key driver in creating the vision for the game.” He worked with Jeff since the games’ inception and also helped build World of Warcraft. With over 18 years of experience at Blizzard, Aaron’s excited to “step into the game director role and continue to be part of a team.”
Bidding farewell to his esteemed colleague, Aaron shared his sentiments on Jeff Kaplan’s leave in the announcement. Additionally, the newly-appointed director kicked off by giving some insight into the state of Overwatch 2.
“Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace,” Aaron Keller said. “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.”
For years, the Overwatch community felt a massive connection with Jeff as the face of the game. He’s been there for practically everything and with his leave, he sets down a permanent legacy. Although questions about how his departure would impact the game are common, only time will tell. However, fans shouldn’t worry too much knowing Overwatch Director Aaron Keller’s background.
Written by Jay Hunter
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