Leading Japanese actor Takuya Kimura plays the role of street fighting detective Takayuki Yagami in the Judgment franchise. While the decision to include a recognizable actor in the series’ lead role may have seemed like a good idea at the time, rumors suggest it might also be Judgment‘s downfall. As spotted by Reddit, Japanese entertainment site Nikkan Taishu alleges a dispute between publisher SEGA and Kimura’s talent agency Johnny’s will mean the franchise will end with the upcoming Lost Judgment.
The first game in the franchise, Judgment, was originally released exclusively on PlayStation 4 before later being ported to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Google Stadia complete with improved graphics and decreased loading times. The game’s sequel, Lost Judgment, will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. However, when the sequel was first announced, it was also advertised as coming to Windows 10 and Steam. Apparently these plans changed when Kimura’s talent agency refused to allow his likeness to be used in a PC game.
The agency’s dislike for PC platforms and the internet in general is notorious. As Music Times explained, their strict control over the use of photos and other likenesses of their clients has meant they have refused permission for images to be published online and even for their artists to use social media. They didn’t have a YouTube channel until 2018, something that seems staggering for an agency that primarily manages K-Pop boy bands.
Unfortunately this approach is directly at odds with SEGA, who views PC gaming as vital for their titles. The first title’s sales recently hit the 1 million benchmark after its release on new-gen platforms and the publisher believes they would increase significantly more with a PC release. Johnny’s refusal to allow the games onto this platform means SEGA has reportedly decided to end the Judgment franchise after just two titles.
For his part, Kimura seems disappointed that his role in the games may be coming to an end; as a gamer himself, he would like the series to continue. SEGA has so far refused to comment on the rumors.