Blizzard Appears to Have Removed a Reference to Jeff Kaplan in Overwatch 2

The company has been making changes to remove real-world references.

It looks like the Overwatch team is continuing to remove references to real-world people after Activision-Blizzard has become the subject of a lawsuit regarding its workplace culture and reports of sexual harassment and discrimination. This time about Blizzard’s ex-Vice President Jeff Kaplan, who left the company back in April.

The change was noticed by fans on Reddit during an Overwatch 2 presentation at this weekend’s Overwatch League Grand Finals. The showcase was meant to break down reworks for characters Sombra and Bastion, as well as host an exhibition match for the sequel. The match and breakdowns in question were set in the game’s New York map, where there was once a pizza shop called Jeph’s Corner Pizza, a reference to Kaplan. Well, now the pizza place appears to have dropped the Jeph from the name.

Comparison between an older piece of Overwatch 2 footage (top) and a screenshot from the Bastion rework showcase (bottom).

More on the Activision-Blizzard lawsuit:

The Overwatch team has also confirmed it will be renaming the hero Jesse McCree, as his namesake was explicitly named in the lawsuit. Kaplan himself wasn’t named (though as a former Vice President of Blizzard, at the very least, his knowledge of what was happening during his time at the company to female employees merits questioning), but the statement that went out alongside the McCree news says “in-game characters will no longer be named after real employees and we will be more thoughtful and discerning about adding real world references in future Overwatch content.” So this may just be a matter of getting rid of real-world references. Beyond Overwatch, Blizzard also scrubbed content in World of Warcraft that made references to former employee Alex Afrasiabi.

Overwatch 2 is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and features a story campaign and more extensive PvE elements than the original game.