Jeff Kaplan departs from Blizzard

Jeff Kaplan has been a long time employee of Blizzard from 2002, working on notable games such as World of Warcraft, two of its expansions (The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King) and Overwatch. Blizzard announced his departure from the company on April 20, 2021 after nineteen years at the company.

Jeff Kaplan is responsible for the design of many of the quests throughout the earlier expansions of World of Warcraft, including Westfall, Burning Steppes and Hinterlands, as well as the infamous Green Hills of Stranglethorn quest, which has the player hunt for more than a dozen different pages throughout the massive Pvp-centred zone of Stranglethorn Vale. He also contributed to the design of many raids and dungeons.

After his time working on World of Warcraft, Jeff Kaplan worked as the lead designer in the creation of the smash hit game Overwatch, where he would also serve as the lead face between communicating design intent to its player base until he left the office.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan leaves Blizzard Entertainment - Polygon

Where he sets his eyes on next is anyone’s guess, but many fans are speculating that he will move to the Dreamhaven company, where many former Blizzard employees have moved to, including Blizzard cofounder Mike Morhaime. Many believe that Dreamhaven will serve as a departure from the corporate entity Activision and create games under the same design philosophy that the 2004 Blizzard operated under. Regardless, his departure spells the end of an elongated are inside Blizzard.

“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.”
-Jeff Kaplan