Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of the Yakuza series, and Daisuke Sato, the series' producer, have both announced their departure from Sega and from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the team within Sega responsible for the Yakuza games.
"As of today," Nagoshi wrote in his farewell message, "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. To achieve that, they too need to continue to learn, challenge themselves, and grow. I ask that you continue your support of the studio's endeavors."
Masayoshi Yokoyama becomes the new studio lead, and director Ryosuke Horii and producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto will apparently become "core leaders" of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, who will continue making Yakuza games. Future games in the series will remain turn-based, and continue focusing on Yakuza: Like a Dragon's protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga.
"I believe that the studio has the power to not only continue the Yakuza series," writes Sato, "but also to carry on that momentum even further beyond. The studio's talented personnel are very capable of accomplishing this, which is why I can leave it in their care with confidence."
Nagoshi has credits at Sega going back to Virtua Racing, and produced and directed the Monkey Ball games before joining Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio to begin the Yakuza series. He also directed 2012's Binary Domain. In August, it was rumored that Nagoshi was in talks to join China's NetEase, though it's yet to be confirmed where he has ended up.