The Overwatch 2 team has moved to erase all mention of Jeff Kaplan, widely regarded as the creator of the game, from its maps.
The scrubbing of any reference to the former vice president was brought to light through the official Competitive Overwatch subreddit. In a post published by user CeeLo38 on Sunday, Sept. 26, they pointed out the difference in the Corner Pizza sign on Overwatch's New York City map. Their post was accompanied by an image contrasting the two storefronts—one from previously released PvP preview footage and the other from the Bastion rework.
Overwatch 2 Erases All Mention of Jeff Kaplan
In the image they posted, on the most recent photo, the name "Jeph" has been taken off the place's awning sign. Obviously, "Jeph" is a phonetic dupe for "Jeff." This spelling appears in several other places throughout the game, as well—which we assume have also been taken down.
"I guess Blizzard was serious about taking out references to any real life person in their games," CeeLo38 wrote, "Just sad Jeff had to be collateral damage…"
Most of the other commenters agreed and commiserated with them, though they acknowledged that the change was necessary and "wise" considering the recent controversy at the company.
"Blizzard wants to avoid ANY risk they can't think of right now. Feels bad, but understandable," sonyagod wrote.
However, one user, SonofGarry, pointed out that, considering how widespread the "frat" workplace culture was, it was unlikely that Kaplan was in the dark about it.
"Collateral is likely a best case scenario," they wrote, "Let’s stop kidding ourselves: as much as we all liked Jeff, he was a VP at Blizzard during all of this. There’s little to no chance he didn’t know what was going on."
Some seemed to be unsatisfied with the new protocol, expressing sentiments that it was a band-aid solution to a bigger problem. Unfortunately, without eyes inside the company, it's hard to tell exactly what plans are in place to deal with the crux of the issue, internally. It's not surprising that players are distrustful considering the breadth of information turned up by Calif. state's investigation.
DBLTAP cannot confirm the extent of reference scrubbing in Overwatch at the time of writing. However, players can expect all real-life references to be removed in accordance with the latest company safeguard.