Fans are still understandably bummed that Yakuza spinoff game, Judgment, was pulled from physical and digital storefronts after one of the game’s actors was accused of using drugs. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, though, as Producer Daisuke Sato has tweeted that he plans to make sure the game will “rise again.”
Last week, Japanese actor Pierre Taki found himself caught up in drug accusations, reportedly getting popped by local authorities for owning and using cocaine. While that might not seem like too big of a deal elsewhere in the world, Japan rides a very hard line when it comes to illegal drug use, with companies frequently cutting all ties with anyone who gets caught partaking of the stuff.
So how does this relate to games? Well, Taki plays the role of Yakuza bigwig Kyohei Hamura in Judgment and, as reported earlier this week, Sega’s response has been to basically scrub the game from existence; at least temporarily. They halted sales of the game, took down its website and even went back through their social media feed and removed comments about the game. Again, that might seem like overkill to anyone living outside of Japan, but it’s par for the course when it comes to celebrities breaking the law in the region.
Judgment is still listed as having a launch date of June 25 in other regions, though we don’t know if that will eventually be halted as well. On Twitter (via Twinfinite), Producer Daisuke Sato has made it clear he aims to bring the game back at some point.
— 佐藤大輔@龍が如くスタジオ/龍が如く4 好評発売中！ (@satod_cs1) March 13, 2019
The translation reads “I will not end it like this. I won’t let it be as if it never happened. One day, surely, I will make it rise again.” In the past, this has been made possible by either cutting a character from a game or actually completely redoing their scenes. It seems like a hell of a lot of work, but Sega could technically scan in another actor’s face, animate it to the existing scenes and then have said new actor redo the entire script.
Here’s hoping we get a more firm game plan soon, because I’d sure as hell hate to see Judgment get totally swept under the rug just because one of its actors likes the devil’s dandruff. I’m not trying to downplay illegal drug use, just saying that Sega isn’t really to blame for Taki’s actions and shouldn’t punish themselves so fiercely for his choices, especially since the game has already launched in its home region.