Blizzard seemingly removes a reference to Jeff Kaplan in Overwatch 2

Followers on Reddit have seen {that a} reference to former Overwatch recreation director Jeff Kaplan has been faraway from the upcoming sequel’s New York Metropolis map. Gamers noticed that the Sept. 25 Bastion Rework announcement video for Overwatch 2 exhibits the pizza store previously known as Jeph’s Nook Pizza is simply Nook Pizza.

Followers can see the change for themselves across the 1-minute mark in Bastion’s announcement video, which exhibits the hero’s new final and the pizza store within the background. The nod to Kaplan doesn’t appear to be on the store’s signal, nonetheless.

Screengrab through Blizzard Leisure

The measure is probably going part of Blizzard Leisure’s push to take away in-game references to its workers within the wake of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.

For the reason that lawsuit’s submitting, the corporate revealed it would rename Overwatch‘s McCree, named after a Diablo 4 lead recreation designer. A press release from the World of Warcraft staff said the staff would “remove references that are not appropriate” for Azeroth—presumably referring to easter eggs involving Alex Afrasiabi, a former senior artistic director for the sport who was instantly named within the lawsuit.

In April, Blizzard announced that Kaplan was leaving the corporate. He was changed by Aaron Keller, a distinguished member of the Overwatch staff who helped design the beloved King’s Row map. Kaplan’s departure got here earlier than the wave of lawsuits filed towards Activision Blizzard. 

Within the official news release, Blizzard stated Kaplan “has determined to depart the corporate after a protracted and storied profession.” On the backside of the discharge, Blizzard included a “private observe” from Kaplan, the place he says, “It was actually the honour of a lifetime.” Kaplan’s purpose for leaving Blizzard stays unclear.

Now, as Blizzard continues to grapple with multiple lawsuits, the corporate has begun to erase quite a few employee-related Easter eggs and references that seem in Blizzard video games. The removing of “Jeph” comes as Blizzard makes adjustments to firm coverage.

In August, a Blizzard rep instructed Kotaku that “[Blizzard] shall be reviewing the real-world references at present utilized in our video games and making choices based mostly on how they finest characterize core values for our video games.” That month, the corporate introduced it might change McCree’s identify.

Jeph’s Nook Pizza wasn’t the one reference to Kaplan, nonetheless. Reddit customers also spotted a coffee cup saying “Jeph” in Overwatch 2, a nod to an image in which Kaplan holds a cup of coffee with a misspelled model of his identify. The cup stands on a replica of a ebook known as “The Inexperienced Hills of Stranglethorn,” a quest from World of Warcraft additionally designed by Kaplan, as spotted by a user. It’s unclear if that reference can even stay within the sequel. | Blizzard seemingly removes a reference to Jeff Kaplan in Overwatch 2


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