Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan leaves Blizzard, Overwatch

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After 19 years with Blizzard, Jeff Kaplan has moved on from the famed developer and is handing over the Overwatch reigns to Aaron Keller.

The news comes to a surprise to many Overwatch fans who have come to know and love Kaplan as the face of the Overwatch development team. He is appreciated for his one-take Developer Updates, and has been dubbed “Daddy Jeff” by those who love the game.

In his 19 years of service to Blizzard, he has worked on World of Warcraft, became the lead designer for Overwatch, and was leading the team in the development of Overwatch 2. The newest Overwatch game has not received a release date yet and will not launch in 2021 due to developers working from home and company-wide layoffs, but incoming lead designer Keller gives fans a burst of hope that Overwatch 2 may come sooner than later.

Aaron Keller is the new Overwatch game director

Aaron Keller worked on World of Warcraft before becoming the assistant game director for Overwatch. He was also the associate game director for Overwatch 2, but will now be leading the development team. 

In his note to fans, Keller mentions that Overwatch 2 is “continuing at a good pace”. 

“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 fan response to the news has generally reflected a feeling of devastation that Kaplan is gone. There have been many memes shared and Overwatch League fan-made signs distributed. There’s also been a resurgance in appreciate for the fan-favorite tradition of Kaplan’s Yule Log video around the holidays. 

There is no public indication to why Kaplan has decided to leave or if there is anything he plans to work on next, so fans will have to wait to see what comes next for him.