The Japanese crime thriller, which released December 13 in its home country, was sacked earlier this month after Pierre Taki, the voice actor for the protagonist, was arrested on cocaine charges. Drug use is something of a big deal in Japan, and the company decided to pull the plug on the game rather than face backlash over the scandal.
The decision to halt sales was not an easy one. Sega’s Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi, executive producer on the Yakuza series, said he struggled with his vote to axe the game.
“To be honest, there’s no correct answer,” Nagoshi said in a March 26 livestream (translation via Kotaku). “If I’m asked why I voted to pull the game, it had just come out and if this were a game that had been released in the past and time had passed, the way we’d look at it might be different. It’s another matter when something just launched a few months before and is still being sold.”
Despite Taki’s arrest, the game will still be coming to the West. The reason Sega feels it can release Judgment in the US and UK is that the cast working on localization does not include Taki. Not to mention that customers abroad are less likely to care about the arrest of one of the voice actors. It will be the first time in my recollection that a game made in Japan for a Japanese audience was available everywhere except for Japan.
Judgment is a PlayStation 4 exclusive due out on June 25, 2019.