Jeff Kaplan: Leaks impact developer morale more than anything else

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan explores the impact leaks have on developers when high-profile announcements are uncovered before their big planned reveal.

"Leaks are very interesting in that they have more of a moral impact on the team than anything else. It's extremely demoralizing. You feel totally deflated."

- Jeff Kaplan discusses the effect leaks have on dev teams with Kotaku Australia. 

A handful of high-profile announcements leaked ahead of Blizzard’s annual Blizzcon event and while the company is no stranger to leaks, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan says an unexpected reveal still has negative effects on the teams behind those titles.

Kaplan shared his thoughts in a Blizzcon interview with Kotaku Australia, sharing sentiments on the leadup to those already-leaked game reveals that other game developers may very well have first-hand experience with themselves.

"We know leaks happen. The example I used this week a lot with the team was The Burning Crusade. And a lot of the team hasn't been around that long, or weren't part of Burning Crusade, but Burning Crusade leaked in an Italian magazine the week before Blizzcon or the week of Blizzcon that we were supposed to announce [the] expansion,” Kaplan tells Kotaku Australia. He goes on to note that over a decade later, few remember the game was leaked at all and the expansion was one of World of Warcraft’s best for many players.

As he explains in the full interview, that demoralization hits various disciplines differently. Art teams see their hard work represented in fuzzy leaked images, for instance, and players make assumptions about the final product based on incomplete and contextless information, muddling reception of the game before it’s officially announced even if, in Burning Crusade’s case, the final product leaves a positive impact.

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