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'Overwatch' director Jeff Kaplan exits Blizzard Entertainment

April 20 (UPI) -- Video game developer Jeff Kaplan, the director of popular online multiplayer title Overwatch, has left Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years.

Kaplan announced his departure on the official Overwatch website on Tuesday. Kaplan is leaving as development on Overwatch 2 is ongoing.

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The sequel does not have a release date.

Aaron Keller, a veteran at Blizzard Entertainment, is stepping in as game director. Blizzard Entertainment is the company responsible for Overwatch and other popular titles such as World of Warcraft and Diablo.

"I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years. It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the oppoturnity 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,"Kaplan said in a statement.

"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," he continued.

Keller also released a statement about Kaplan's departure and his new role as director of Overwatch 2.

"Jeff's been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we're going to miss him. 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 that torch forward," Keller said before stating that development of Overwatch 2 is continuing at a good pace with updates on the title coming 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 a 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," he continued.

Kaplan and Keller were both present during a virtual presentation on Overwatch 2 that happened during BlizzCon 2021 in February.

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