In case you missed it, the upcoming Yakuza spin-off titled Judgment was pulled from store shelves in Asia, due to one of the main actors facing drug charges. Pierre Taki, whose voice and likeness were used in Judgment, was reported to have tested positively for cocaine. As such, Judgment was pulled from Asian storefronts, both digitally and physically, and the game’s developers had to promptly start working on replacing the actor. This was seemingly a massive task, as all of the dialogue had to be re-recorded, the character model had to be replaced, and all of the pre-rendered cut scenes had to be changed. Because of this, a re-release called New Price Version will be launching in Japan on July 18th.
In terms of the Western release, which is expected to arrive on June 25th, Taki has also been replaced. Sega Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi had this to say about the removal of the actor:
There was an option to leave it as it was, but personally I felt strongly that changing the character was the right decision. It’s hard to know how big the risks are. If the game had already been on sale for several years, I don’t know what the outcome would have been. But this was just three months after the Japanese release, so it was still hot, and I think that requires a sensitive approach.
It’s wild that the replacement process hasn’t impacted the game’s Western release. Based on what was described above, it was no easy task to remove all evidence of the previous actor, so it’s likely that the studio was hard at work to meet that deadline.
If you’re in the West, you can look forward to Judgment soon, as it arrives on June 25th. If you’re in Asia, the re-release will drop on July 18th.