Overwatch: Why Did Jeff Kaplan Leave Blizzard?


By Rachael Fiddis

April 21, 2021

After almost two decades at Blizzard, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan parts ways with the company.

Overwatch fans were left heartbroken yesterday when the legendary lead designer, vice president and overall face of Overwatch left Blizzard after serving 19 years.

Kaplan had previously worked on many huge Blizzard projects for many years including being the game designer for World of Warcraft and, of course, being the main face behind the popular hero shooter Overwatch.

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In a statement on Twitter, Kaplan addressed his departure stating that “it was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience.”

Even though Kaplan’s director’s chair will be filled by Aaron Keller who has been with Blizzard for 18 years, it still begs the question of why Kaplan has left the company in the first place.

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Obviously, at this time of writing, Kaplan hasn’t released a statement on the reasoning behind his departure so we can only speculate and throw out some possible ideas into the universe.

Why is Jeff Kaplan leaving Blizzard?

A particular matter that has fans worried now is what this could mean for the development of Overwatch 2 which has been delayed because of the pandemic. To reassure fans, he did add:  “development is continuing at a good pace and we’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon.”

One of the many theories making the rounds is that Kaplan could have left the company due to issues about getting new content out for Overwatch as the title has seemingly been lacking on that front lately.

Whether this was the responsibility of Kaplan or Blizzard’s, it very well could have led to frustrations in the direction of the company.

Another theory is that Blizzard has seen many veterans leave the company over a relatively short time period and that, unfortunately, the Overwatch team could have been overdue for a staff overhaul.


Ultimately though, the reason could very likely be that Kaplan wanted to move on from somewhere he has been for a long time and nothing more than that is behind it.

Whatever the reason, his exit will leave a huge hole in many fan’s hearts who looked up to him with admiration. What Kaplan does next is anyone’s guess but we hope he can still make time for his thousands of dedicated supports around the world.

Overwatch is available now on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.

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Rachael Fiddis

Rachael, who is Deputy Editor & Head of Stakeholder Relations, has been gaming for many years. Some of her favourite video games include The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us but also loves a good indie title. Gaming Culture is where her heart lies and spends many hours sieving through gaming fan art and cosplay displays. Other than gaming, Rachael is a book nerd and music lover.

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