After nearly 20 years, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has announced that he is leaving Blizzard Entertainment. As soon as this news broke, many from around the internet began sharing their appreciation for his work at Blizzard and how, in some cases, his positivity and passion helped inspire and change the lives of the people he met. Overwatch League Lead Observer Maikol Brito said they were in “pure disbelief” over the departure, and that those who used the phrase “Don’t meet you heroes” have never met Jeff Kaplan. Principal Designer Craig Morrison, who worked on the cancelled Project Titan with Jeff, shared a story about how, even though he hadn’t been at Blizzard for very long, Jeff had his back. Jeff Kaplan joined Blizzard in 2002 as a designer on World of Warcraft, developing quests for the MMORPG that had yet to be released. He was eventually credited as a game director on World of Warcraft and, in 2009, he was put in charge of the now-cancelled first-person shooter known as Project Titan. Even though Project Titan never saw the light of day, Jeff and many of the team members took the ideas they had for that game, redesigned them, and turned them into the team-based hero shooter we all know now as Overwatch. [ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/02/23/overwatch-2-jeff-kaplan-answers-our-questions”]
“The Overwatch Community Won’t Be the Same Without Him”
Not only did those who worked with Jeff have great things to say about him, but members of the over 50 million strong Overwatch community also took the time to share how important and meaningful his tenure at Blizzard was. While some are a bit worried as to the future of Overwatch, its sequel, and Blizzard without Jeff, none of that stopped them from also saying how much of an impact Jeff had on the game and its players. IGN’s Armando Torres shared a video of Jeff Kaplan giving him tips on playing Reinhardt, while saying the Overwatch community won’t be the same without him.
figured it’s a good time to re-float this video of Jeff Kaplan giving me tips on playing Reinhardt.
The Reddit Overwatch community also shared their appreciation for Jeff Kaplan using an iconic Wolverine meme. Another Reddit user named /Investandhopefordub said that, without Jeff and the Overwatch team, they wouldn’t know who they would be. @timthetatman said that it will be hard to imagine Blizzard without the “absolute legend” that is Jeff Kaplan. The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley wished the best to Jeff Kaplan, who he called “one of our industry’s most gifted and passionate designers.” @PharaohOW on Twitter praised Jeff’s track record, saying, “20 years and the guy hasn’t missed once.” @Jaymcastello shared a story that when they interviewed Jeff Kaplan, they felt that they were “Doing The Damn Thing which led to me having a lot more confidence in my career & shooting for cooler stuff.” @SamitoFPS stated that, while “Jeff Kaplan will go down a Blizzard Legend,” the new leadership for Overwatch “will need to make up for the poor direction the game has taken.” @PhilReyes_11 said Overwatch will never be the same following Jeff’s departure. [poilib element=”accentDivider”] Jeff Kaplan leaves Blizzard while Overwatch 2 development is still underway. For more on the much anticipated sequel, check out Jeff’s answers to questions about Overwatch 2 and 55 new details revealed about that game at BlizzCon 2021. [ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/11/01/overwatch-2-announcement-trailer”] [poilib element=”accentDivider”] Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected]. Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.