The Overwatch game director Jeffrey Kaplan is leaving Blizzard, as he announced it on the company’s website and upon his exit Aaron Keller will replace him who once was Overwatch assistant game director, as Kaplan’s replacement in the role.
“I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years. 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,” Kaplan said.
As per Keller’s statement, Kaplan is leaving in the midst of Overwatch 2’s development however the development on the sequel is “continuing at a good pace,” Keller said, and he promised more updates soon.
“I also recognize that making games at Blizzard has always been a group effort and never about just one point of view. Together with the rest of the team, I feel fortunate that we have a deep bench of development and creative leaders, numerous veteran Blizzard artists and designers, and some extremely talented new blood as well—along with tons of support throughout the company for the live game and for Overwatch 2. 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,” Keller said.
The original Overwatch launched in 2016 and became a huge hit, attracting over 50 million players. Earlier according to reports updates to the team-based shooter have slowed significantly (outside of the usual seasonal events) as the development team shifted focus on Overwatch 2, which Blizzard announced in November 2019.