Jeff Kaplan is Out at Blizzard

Jeff Kaplan is Out at Blizzard

Not certain what this means.

Jeff Kaplan is suddenly leaving the company after nearly twenty years. And he is doing so with no real explanation.

I haven’t heard about him getting Canceled for a ten year old tweet or accidentally calling a Trans-woman,”dude.”

Kaplan started off at Blizzard doing lowly QA work for Warcraft III. From there he worked all the way up to lead developer on the super MMO Titan. Which failed and then the pieces were picked up and turned into the Team Fortress 2 ripoff called Overwatch.

“After nearly two decades at the company, one of Blizzard’s best-known employees is ready for something new. On Tuesday, Jeff Kaplan, the director of Overwatch, announced he’s leaving the historic game developer. “It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience,” Kaplan said in a goodbye shared by Blizzard.

Taking over for Kaplan is Aaron Keller, another longtime Blizzard employee. Before Overwatch, the two previously worked together on World of Warcraft. “Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him,” Keller said. “I’ve been lucky to work alongside him and the rest of the Overwatch team for many years in building something that continues to inspire people all around the world, and I’m honored to carry the torch forward.”

Overwatch 2 is not going to ship this year. Overwatch itself is moribund, there are no new events. No updates. There hasn’t been a new hero released in over a year. There wasn’t even a new movie at Blizzcon.

It says a lot about where we are at this point that the one motive for his removal that didn’t occur to me until a day later was, removal for performance failure.


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Comments (5)

  • Silent Draco Reply

    Hate to say it, but that didn’t occur to me while reading the post. Of course, performance failure compounded by breathing while (white) male is grounds for immediate separation. Or so it seems.

    I’ve been too busy to play Overwatch for a couple years (life, universe, everything), but then reading the caution flags like an army’s standard meant “never mind.”

    April 21, 2021 at 7:30 pm
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    terminating someone For Cause, such as lack of quality or production or excess dissatisfied customers?
    who has lost their mind around here?

    April 21, 2021 at 8:32 pm
  • Seeker Reply

    It has been suggested that the decision could have been a case of the team’s vision clashing with Activision/Blizzard mandates. It’s definitely possible that Activision/Blizzard is going all in on microtransactions for the upcoming release. I also suspect that the game being optional (i.e. Overwatch and Overwatch 2 having compatible multiplayer) is likely being reconsidered to incentive buying it. Given modern day Blizzard and the SJWism already built into Overwatch lore, how many really think the story mode isn’t going to be hyper politicized? Leaving the company is the best way to avoid taking the fall for all the corporate decisions.

    April 21, 2021 at 9:11 pm
  • Jack Amok Reply

    A v2 is a death knell for a game like that anyway. You’ll split your player base if you keep v1 around, or halve it if you kill v1, and the moment you announce v2 v1 will start dying.

    See EverQuest 2.

    April 21, 2021 at 9:42 pm
  • Chief_Tuscaloosa Reply

    Seeker has the right of it, in my opinion.

    And *IS* there anyone at Blizz (or any other subordinate to Activision) who wants to commit career suicide by telling the MBAs in the C-suite that players loathe micro-tranasactions? I mean yeah, there’s a smoking crater where Battlefront 2 was supposed to make a gajillion USD off nerds buying their way to the top of the kill ladder…but that was over two years ago! Fleeceing the customer is can’t miss-guaranteed profitable! The sheep won’t notice!

    April 22, 2021 at 1:33 am

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