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Reference to Former Game Director Jeff Kaplan Removed from Overwatch 2
26/9/2021 em 22:38
As fans watched the
Bastion rework video
revealed during the Overwatch League Grand Finals last night, a diligent Redditor noticed that a reference to former game director and longtime Blizzard developer Jeff Kaplan appears to have been removed from Overwatch 2. Jeph's Corner Pizza was first spotted in the New York City map during last May's Overwatch 2 PvP livestream, alongside
two other references to Kaplan
- a copy of The Green Hills of Stranglethorn, inspired by the infamous
quest of the same name
, and a coffee cup celebrating
Jeff's first experience
with Blizzard's on-campus Starbucks.
The reason for this removal is unclear. It's completely possible this demo was done on an older version of the map which simply did not include the asset, but it seems more likely that the tribute was intentionally removed sometime over the last four months. Following their decision to
rename Jesse McCree
, the Overwatch Team put out a message stating that in-game characters would no longer be named after real employees, and that they would be more careful with real world references in future Overwatch content, so Jeph's Corner Pizza may have simply been collateral damage.
Despite being fairly well loved by fans of Overwatch, Kaplan hasn't been without controversy, which could have something to do with the removal. Like Alex Afrasiabi, Jeff "Tigole Bitties" Kaplan was also an extremely outspoken Everquest guild leader before joining Blizzard, prone to vitriolic rants very unlike the mild mannered Papa Jeff persona known today. While angry rants from 20 years ago are hardly indicative of the person he is today and there haven't been any public allegations of wrongdoing on Kaplan's part, it seems likely that Blizzard is simply removing any overt developer references as a preemptive measure - it's hardly a major part of the game, so there's no real loss from its absence, and it avoids potential future embarrassment if something tragic should unfold. This seems like the most likely explanation and while it may be the safest option for Blizzard, it's a shame to see references to such an influential member of Overwatch history removed. Even more curious is that it only seems to have happened in Overwatch - there are still employee references to former leaders like
, and even
in World of Warcraft, so it's strange that his name would be scrubbed from one Blizzard game and not the other.
The Green Hills of Stranglethorn is another reference to the former game director and the infamous quest he made in WoW, sitting underneath a coffee cup which was the origin for his name's creative misspelling.
It's currently unclear whether these references have also been removed.
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