Yesterday we received news that Jeff Kaplan, game director and face of Overwatch, was leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years.
A VERY SPECIAL GAME
Overwatch came out May 24th, 2016. And since the initial launch Overwatch is a game that has been heavily supported by the Blizzard team. Two months after release the first new character arrived, Ana (a healer/sniper) — I picked up the game around this time.
Even during the development of an Overwatch sequel (Overwatch 2), the team continues to update the original. We’ve received a new hero every few months bringing the current roster to 32 heroes. New seasons and events are added frequently. We’ve also seen new maps and matches. There’s also so much going on behind the scenes with every game patch (hero abilities, damage, bugs, level layout, healing, weapons are constantly being worked on).
It’s not only the gameplay and quick matches that keep you coming back for more. There’s so much that makes this game special. The lore for one is incredible. The heroes are brilliantly designed and voiced by talented actors. They’ve even published comics and new heroes are revealed in creative ways including beautifully animated shorts.
It’s such a magical game because each hero feels completely different. Sure the main mechanics are the same but their abilities, weapons and how you play each of them differs. Each time I jump back in to Overwatch I find myself playing as a new hero, whether it’s based on my current mood or my team’s needs.
A GREAT LEADER
Jeff Kaplan has been Overwatch’s Game Director since the very beginning and he’s been at Blizzard for close to 20 years. I’m not sure what it is a game director actually does, but due to the steady success of Overwatch I feel that Jeff has been a great one. Yesterday, it was announced that Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard and at first I felt worried. I wondered, What’s going to happen to this game I love?
Jeff has also played the important role of being the face of Overwatch since the early days. He’s been there to tell us what’s going on in every developer update video. He’s given us announcements and presented at Blizzcon and conferences all over.
I’m sure a game director makes many important day-to-day decisions, but Overwatch is a huge game with a huge team behind it. It’s a well established game too. And, while the game director is an important factor in game development there’s so much more that goes into it. Everyone on the team has made this game the special thing that it is today, and I’m sure it will continue to be that way.
Although I will miss seeing Jeff any time some Overwatch (or Overwatch 2) news drops, I’m pretty sure that both games will continue to move forward. For one, Blizzard has been making big, long-living games for many years. They understand how to keep their games up to date and fresh for their community.
IN GOOD HANDS
The good news is that the new Overwatch overseer, Aaron Keller, has also been at Blizzard for close to 20 years. He has been on the Overwatch team since the very beginning and has worked on other Blizzard properties as well. Aaron is currently the Assistant Director so I’m pretty sure he has what it takes to be the next Overwatch Game Director.
Here is Aaron’s letter to the Overwatch community:
Aaron’s words got me excited for the future of Overwatch and release of Overwatch 2. Jeff has done a fantastic job leading this team to where they are today, and knowing that someone who has been at his side since the very beginning is taking over sounds like great news to me.
Check out the full story from Blizzard right here.