Game publisher Sega has announced that they will be undergoing a voluntary halt of Judgment shipments and digital sales following controversial news of actor Pierre Taki’s arrest of alleged cocaine use, which violates Japan’s drug control law.
Taki plays a vital role in the game: Kyohei Hamura, his character serves as the captain of a villainous family within the game, leaving the presence of his character troublesome and up in the air. This is a choice that can prove difficult for Sega. Whether they wish to continue through with keeping this character in the game to preserve the game’s vision or preserve the company’s image by taking a tough stance on this, this is yet to be determined and time will tell.
Sega has stated that the arrest of the actor is “highly regrettable” but that discussion of future course of action has begun, with the decision to come. “Sega has received the arrest reports and are currently confirming the facts, but for the time being, we will voluntarily refrain from shipments and digital sales of [Judgment], as well as from things like posting the product’s homepage. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause for customers, as well as the parties involved.” Sega stated in a press release.
Troubles like this aren’t unfamiliar to Sega either: when Yakuza 4 was re-released in Japan back in January one of the four main playable protagonists, Masayoshi Tanimura, had to be recast due to actor Toshiki Masuda retiring back in 2016 after similar allegations of cocaine abuse. Judgment released in Japan on PlayStation 4 back in December 2018 and is due out for Western Audiences on June 25.
Fans may be crossing their fingers for this release as it is currently unclear whether this controversy will affect the Western release for the time being.