Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and head of Sonic Team, has left SEGA to set up a new studio which will be partially funded by the publisher.
The studio has been named Prope - a Latin word which, according to the official website, means "beside" and "near future".
"We named our company Prope in the hopes of bringing game entertainment much closer to users, establishing closer ties between users and us, and creating near future entertainment," the website reveals.
SEGA will provide 10 per cent of the studio's startup capital, which is being launched as part of its program to support "Independent Game Creators." The publisher is also allowing Naka to take 10 members of Sonic Team with him.
There's no word on whether the move will affect the development of the first next-gen Sonic game, currently in the pipeline for PS3 and Xbox 360 under Naka's direction. Prope's first projects also have yet to be revealed.