After a main actor in Judgment has found himself embroiled in a drug-related scandal, Sega has pulled Judgment, the latest game from the Yakuza team, from digital storefronts and halted shipments. The actor Pierre Taki was arrested after reports of him using cocaine.
While no drugs were found, his urine test turned up positive for cocaine use, according to Nippon.com. In the United States, pulling a game for this reason might seem overblown; in Japan though, drug laws are among the harshest of most democracies. According to The Japan Times, possession or use of cocaine can result in seven years of prison time. Beyond Judgment, Taki is also the Japanese voice of Olaf in Disney's Frozen, and is the frontman of the synthpop group Denki Groove.
Similar to the recent pulling of the Taiwanese horror game Devotion (which was pulled for very different reasons), Sega has also deleted all mentions of Judgment across its Twitter account. The official website redirects to a press release that explains the rescinding of sales of Judgment while Sega investigates how to move forward. When Yakuza 4 actor Hiroki Narimiya was embroiled in a similar drug scandal, Sega eventually recast the character and changed the in-game model's hair to make him look different.
According to a statement given to a reporter with The Wall Street Journal, the imminent western release of Judgment this summer is currently under discussion, and a decision has not yet been reached. At the time of this writing, the English Twitter for Sega has not deleted promotions of Judgment as the Japanese Sega account has.
Judgment is an action-adventure "legal thriller" set in the Yakuza universe. It features private detective Takayuki Yagami, who is investigating a serial murder case. It was originally released in Japan in December 2018.
Here's hoping that whatever the decision is doesn't delay it too much, as what we played of the localized version of Judgment last month had us hooked. Judgment is scheduled for release on June 25 on PlayStation 4, though that date is now thrown into question with the news above.