The Big N has tapped Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., to helm a new studio currently being referred to as Project Sora.
With a ¥200 million ($2.16m) initial investment from the bank vaults of the House That Mario Built, the new company will be 72% owned by Nintendo. If you can speak Japanese, there's a fairly extensive interview on the company's official site with both Sakurai and Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, and apparently the fledgling company already has a project in mind:
"The thoughts of game designer Masahiro Sakurai and Nintendo have become one, and a new project has started. In order to expand what can be offered to the world through games, we will have Nintendo's full cooperation and make something that Nintendo could not do on its own."
I'm not sure what exactly it is that a company with the incredibly deep pockets Nintendo does "could not do." Maybe something darker and more mature a la MadWorld, perhaps? Whatever it is, we probably won't see it until 2011 - and it won't be a new Super Smash Bros. game.