Overwatch’s dad, Jeff Kaplan, is leaving Blizzard. No more Yule Log streams for as Papa Jeff parts ways with the company after 19 years.

Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard after nearly twenty years with the company. Blizzard also announced Aaron Keller, Overwatch assistant game director, as the new game director.

Jeff Kaplan no longer with Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan has been with Blizzard for nineteen years. Kaplan was one of the most well-known member of the Overwatch team. 

I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years. 

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.  

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. 


Jeffrey Kaplan

Jeff Kaplan has been a familiar face for Overwatch fans. As the game director, Jeff Kaplan would routinely come out with update videos on the state of the game and future plans. He was a part of the development team for Titan, Blizzard's ambitious first-person shooter game. The company canceled the game in 2014. However, the developers took many ideas from Titan and used it in Overwatch.

Overwatch founds immense success after launch selling more than 50 million copies. The game boasts more than 10 million active users as of 2020. Blizzard also took the ambitious step to launch the Overwatch League, a city-based franchised League.

Aaron Keller takes charge of Overwatch

Aaron Keller, new game director of Overwatch. Source: ArsTechnica YouTube.
Aaron Keller, new game director of Overwatch. Source: ArsTechnica YouTube.

Replacing Jeff Kaplan is Aaron Keller is a member of the founding team of Overwatch. With over 18 years of experience working at Blizzard, Aaron is a key driver in creating the vision for Overwatch. Before Overwatch he was also deeply involved in World of Warcraft.

I love Overwatch. From our first pieces of concept art, to the first maps we built, to the first time I was able to run around as Tracer (who at that early point shot laser beams out of her eyes), this game has just clicked with me. I love its inspiring, hopeful, beautiful world worth fighting for. I love its characters—larger than life, colorful, powerful, and global. And most of all, I love the fast, fluid gameplay requiring teamwork, situational awareness, and quick decision making.  

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.  

What’s next for Overwatch 2?

Kaplan’s departure comes at an important point in Overwatch game development. Blizzard has already announced it is working on Overwatch 2, but there is no release date or information about the game just yet. Aaron Keller had some words to say about 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.  

While I have no pretenses about filling Jeff’s shoes, I’m excited to step into the game director role and continue to be part of a team that’s putting all of its heart, talent, and focus into the next iteration of Overwatch, and I’m honored to continue serving this incredible community. 


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