NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Blizzard Entertainment vice president Jeff Kaplan is “the beating heart of Overwatch.”
That’s according to Blizzard senior casting and voice director Andrea Toyias, who described what working on the Overwatch team is like during a panel at Games for Change Tuesday.
“He’s busy running the world right now,” she laughed. “To me, Overwatch is a function of him. He’s leading the team, he’s leading the message. He’s got the biggest heart.”
When asked by The Daily Walkthrough about the impact Kaplan has had on the wildly popular online first-person shooter, Toyias replied that, “From my perspective, he’s the beating heart of Overwatch. He weighs in, and I think he’s part of the collaborative process. But really, it’s not, it sounds like bullshit because I work there, but it’s not,” Toyias paused. “It’s a very democratic process. So, what’s wonderful about our team, this sounds like such bullshit, we’ve got our tenants of our company. One tenant is that every voice matters. So, when I go to an Overwatch meeting, it’s not hierarchical. We can all raise our hands.”
Kaplan is heavily engaged with the community through mediums like videos, Twitter and the Overwatch forums. He can regularly be found replying to questions and concerns, and once had a snarky back-and-forth with a player that ended in them both apologizing profusely to each other over email and Kaplan thanking the player for his feedback.
“The diversity of our games is reflected by the diversity of our teams. Jeff listens to everybody and responds to emails in about five seconds, which is amazing,” Toyias said.
Toyias was joined by Overwatch actors Anjali Bhimani (Symmetra), Carolina Ravassa (Sombra) and Lucie Pohl (Mercy). The panel, titled, “The Women of Overwatch: The Journey of Bringing Strong Female Characters to Life,” was moderated by Entertainment Software Association director of federal government affairs Nika Nour.
You can find the full panel discussion here. This portion starts at the 48-minute mark.