Toshihiro Nagoshi is stepping down as head of Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and leaving Sega.
Nagoshi has been involved with the Yakuza franchise since its inception in 2005, and most recently worked on story elements for series spin-off Lost Judgment.
The veteran designer, producer, and director helped establish Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio during his time at parent company Sega, and eventually went on to become general director of the Japanese studio.
Earlier this year, Nagoshi revealed he would be stepping down as Sega COO to become the company's creative director. In August, it was reported that Nagoshi might soon depart Sega altogether -- with NetEase being touted as potential suitors -- and now it seems those rumblings held an element of truth.
"As I depart from Sega, I’m also leaving my position as the head of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Thank you to the fans who have supported us and the Yakuza series for many years. You have my sincerest and deepest gratitude," wrote Nagoshi in a blog post.
"I persisted and am here now thanks to what I learned from many people around me. It’s credit to the colleagues who supported such that I could hone my mindset to continuously push boundaries.
"As of today, a new Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is born where the series will live on. Though I don’t know for sure what they will create, I believe the new generation will further enhance the foundation we built over the years and deliver great games to the world."
Former Yakuza producer Masayoshi Yokoyama will be taking over as director and executive producer of the studio, and has pledged to "protect" its creative identity moving forward.