Blizzard has announced a new senior hire to oversee Overwatch development as Overwatch 2 settles in after a rocky launch.
Jared Neuss, whose previous credits include Destiny 2 and League of Legends, steps into the role of executive producer and vice president for Overwatch 2. Neuss reports to Walter Kong, the general manager for the whole Overwatch universe, while Aaron Keller remains as game director.
Neuss is certainly an experienced producer of live games. At Riot Games, he worked on League, Teamfight Tactics, and the studio’s secret, in-development massively multiplayer game. He was a lead producer on Destiny 2 at Bungie, and senior producer working on online features for Halo 5: Guardians at 343 Industries. Just to mix things up, he also helped make the casual puzzle game Peggle 2 at PopCap.
It’s not clear if Neuss is replacing anyone in particular at Blizzard, although Chacko Sonny left as executive producer for Overwatch in September 2021. Sonny’s exit came after the departure of fan-favorite game director Jeff Kaplan earlier that year, and amid a spate of resignations of senior Blizzard staff following allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace culture. (Bloomberg reported that Blizzard sources said Sonny was well respected and that, to its knowledge, no allegations had been made against him.)
Announcing his appointment on LinkedIn, Neuss said: “I’ve been obsessed with Blizzard’s titles since I first played World of Warcraft in 2005. When Overwatch was initially announced, it hooked me immediately with its hopeful view of the future and its diverse, resonant heroes. Once I was finally able to play it, I knew that it would be part of my gaming life forever.
“To have the opportunity to support this incredibly talented team, and this legendary studio, as they transition into a new, brighter future is a dream come true for me,” said Neuss. Note the tacit acknowledgement of Blizzard’s recent troubles in the last line there.
Although he arrives just after Overwatch 2’s launch, Neuss’ in-tray will be full. Overwatch’s transition to a free-to-play model seems to have attracted a lot of players, but has been beset by server woes, a U-turn on a security requirement for phone numbers, some embarrassing bugs, and controversy over store prices.