Blizzard Entertainment Vice President and Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has left the company.
In a statement on the Overwatch website, it was revealed that Aaron Keller, 18-year Blizzard veteran and a founding member of the Overwatch development team, would become the new game director in Kaplan’s stead.
“Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him,” Keller stated. “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.”
The move will no doubt create some concerns over the development of Overwatch 2; with the game trending on Twitter at this time of writing. The game had previously been announced as not launching in 2021, and the lead writer of Overwatch and its sequel leaving in March 2020. Kaplan had previously stated he wanted to challenge the industry on what a sequel is, but earlier had stated he had no idea when the game would launch.
Despite this, Keller assured fans that development was 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.” More frequent updates and new features are said to be revealed very soon.
Kaplan himself stated that 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.”
At this time of writing, Blizzard Entertainment themselves have not announced who will be taking up the Vice President role.
Kaplan had previously worked as a designer on Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, World of Warcraft, and the latter’s expansions The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.