Will Wright, the renowned game designer behind titles such as Spore, SimCity and the insanely popular The Sims series has left Electronic Arts and Maxis to focus on Stupid Fun Club, an “entertainment think tank” he founded in 2001 to develop new intellectual properties. EA announced the departure today, but said it would maintain a close relationship with Wright as an equal partner in the new venture.

The giant game publisher will still have first option rights on any game ideas developed by Stupid Fun Club. Essentially, the move gives Wright more creative autonomy and less publisher-imposed restraints while still holding on to many of the benefits of a powerhouse like EA. Additionally, Wright hopes to develop new concepts that can become more than just video games, looking at possible television, toys, movies and Internet ventures.