Kaplan wrote on Blizzard’s website: “It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience.
“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.
“Never accept the world as it appears to be. always dare to see it for what it could be. I hope you do the same.”
Blizzard has also announced new leadership for the Overwatch franchise and claimed development of the sequel is “continuing at a good pace”.
Aaron Keller, an 18-year Blizzard veteran whose LinkedIn profile lists him as a lead level designer, will be stepping in as Overwatch 2 game director.
Blizzard said Keller was a founding member of the Overwatch team and also previously helped to build World of Warcraft.
“Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace,” said Keller. “We have an exceptional vision we’re executing on, the reaction from many of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline thrilled us, and we have exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch.
“We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon.
“While I have no pretenses about filling Jeff’s shoes, I’m excited to step into the game director role and continue to be part of a team that’s putting all of its heart, talent, and focus into the next iteration of Overwatch, and I’m honored to continue serving this incredible community.”
The lead writer of the Overwatch series left Blizzard in 2020 after 20 years with the company. Michael Chu shaped the narrative for the popular online shooter, as well as working on Blizzard’s other series such as World of Warcraft and Diablo.
Blizzard said in February that both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 will not launch until at least 2022.