A popular spin-off to the Yakuza franchise is getting more attention due to the controversy of one of the Japanese voice actors.
Judgment is an action-adventure game that is a spin-off of the very popular Yakuza series. The franchise is owned and developed by Sega. Judgment has already been released in Japan last December, and is expected a worldwide release in June of this year.
Though the game was well-received and sold modestly well in Japan, on March 13 Sega decided to pull away all copies of the game from retails and digital purchase. The reason why is because one of the lead Japanese voice actors in the game, Pierre Taki, was arrested for possession of cocaine.
Sega has since distance themselves from Taki, and are planning to completely replace him in Judgment. Since Taki’s likeness was used for the character he voices, they also plan to remodel the character to differentiate him from the actor.
While this may seem a tad extreme, remember Japan has different laws and rules regarding drugs. It is a bigger deal over there to be caught with illegal drugs than it is for most western countries.
The controversy with Pierre Taki has made Judgment a much more desirable game. In a translated piece from Gematsu, Sega’s Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi discuss about Taki’s arrest and the sales for the game.
In the translated post, Nagoshi brings up that demand for the game overseas has gone up. According to him, about 97 percent of the inventory has already sold out.
While Nagoshi expresses disappointment that the game is getting attention due to the controversy, it shouldn’t be too surprising. Because Sega halted all sales for Judgment, the game has become a somewhat collector’s item. According to a report by Kotaku, original Japanese copies of the game are being sold in Japan for around 80 to 130 US dollars.
Even though it is an unfortunate incident, Taki’s arrest has drawn more interest to the game. His arrest has become mainstream news for video game publications; even western publications are reporting on his arrest and Judgment’s current situation. Judgment was always a highly anticipated game, especially among fans of the Yakuza series. But the controversy surrounding the actor has made more people aware of it, and making them more interested in playing it.
Pierre Taki was also the voice of Olaf in Frozen and Kingdom Hearts III. His voice is planning to be replace in Kingdom Hearts. Judgment is still slated to release in June 25.
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