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Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard

Overwatch game direct Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard after twenty years with the company. The news was announced in a blog post, which also names his successor as Aaron Keller.

“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” wrote Kaplan in his goodbye note. “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 also posted a message to his Twitter account in binary, which translates as “Defend the Keep.”

Kaplan first joined Blizzard twenty years ago as a quest designer on the in-development World Of Warcraft. He later moved to Blizzard’s next MMO project, Titan, and when that was cancelled he stayed to build Overwatch from its remnants. Since then he’s become the public face of the game, making announcements and notably streaming himself sitting in front of a log fire for ten hours on Christmas 2017 and again on 2019, and with help from other Overwatch developers in 2018.

Aaron Keller steps in as Overwatch’s game director, having worked on Overwatch since its inception and having been at Blizzard himself for 18 years. Keller’s note in the above linked blog post gave an update on the in-development Overwatch 2, noting that the game 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.”

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