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Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan announced today that he is leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years with the company. Aaron Keller will become the new director for Overwatch 2.

Kaplan gives no word on his future plans or any reason for his departure.

“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” Kaplan notes in a short goodbye message posted on Blizzard’s site. “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.”

This departure could make many Overwatch fans anxious. Kaplan is a beloved figure in the community thanks to his calming soft voice, kindness, and willingness to poke fun at himself. Overwatch is also in something of an awkward spot as fans wait for Overwatch 2, which doesn’t have a release date.

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The original Overwatch launched in 2016 and became a huge hit, attracting over 50 million players. 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.

“We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon,” new Overwatch 2 director Keller notes in the Blizzard post announcing Kaplan’s departure.

Keller was a founding member of the Overwatch team. He is also a veteran of Blizzard of 18 years, having also worked on World of Warcraft.

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