As of today, the man, the myth, the meme Jeff Kaplan is no longer a member of the Overwatch team—or Blizzard, for that matter.
Blizzard made the announcement in a blog post today. Kaplan’s director’s chair will be filled by Aaron Keller, an 18-year Blizzard veteran who has worked on Overwatch and World of Warcraft. The company also delivered one final missive from Kaplan, although sadly not in the form of a long, endearingly rambly video for old time’s sake.
“I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years,” Kaplan wrote using no capitalization, a true power move (Kotaku has made slight tweaks in the name of readability). “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.”
In his own note, Keller said he has “no pretenses about filling Jeff’s shoes,” but he’s spent years working alongside Kaplan and is “honored to carry the torch forward.” Keller also talked about the status of Overwatch 2.
“Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace,” he wrote. “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.”
Kaplan ended his farewell note with some encouraging words.
“Never accept the world as it appears to be,” he said. “Always dare to see it for what it could be. I hope you do the same.”