UPDATE: Following on from the story a few weeks ago whereby Japanese actor Pierre Taki was arrested for alleged drugs offenses, developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has confirmed Judgment is still coming West on June 25th.
Pierre Taki's likeness has been stripped from the game and a new character model will be used. Evidently, they take drugs charges very seriously in Japan.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, the character model and Japanese voice for the character of Kyohei Hamura will be adjusted for the Western release of Judgment, launching on June 25, 2019," said RGG Studio.
"Screenshots and trailers featuring Hamura have been temporarily removed from all of SEGA’s official channels. Updated versions of these materials will be made available at a later date."
It's quite an extreme reaction, for sure, but the good news is this controversy hasn't impacted the Western release of Judgment (Judge Eyes in Japan). Judgment will be coming to PlayStation 4 on June 25th, 2019.
Thanks to ENTLVL820m for bringing this to my attention!
Original Story: 13-Mar-2019 - Yakuza Spin-Off Judgment Pulled From Sale in Japan After Actor Allegedly Caught With Cocaine
Sega Japan has pulled all copies of Judgment (Judge Eyes in Japan) from digital and physical store shelves after allegations of cocaine possession were aimed at Pierre Taki, an actor who plays Kyohei Hamura in the game.
51-year-old Taki was allegedly arrested with a small amount of cocaine in his possession and could face up to seven years jail time.
Sega Japan has issued a statement on the matter, which is translated from its original Japanese, saying:
“We believe that the arrest of Mr. Pierre, who is a performer of our product JUDGE EYES: The Testament of the Grim Reaper, is highly regrettable.
“We have received arrest reports and are currently confirming the facts, but for the time being we have decided to refrain from shipping and DL sales of the product and posting of product HP etc. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers and related parties.
“We will notify you of future responses as soon as we determine.”
Sega has now stopped promoting the game, has deleted all tweets from its official Twitter account regarding Judgment, and pulled the official website down. At this point, it’s unclear whether this “drugs scandal”, as it’s bizarrely been referred to, will affect Judgment’s recently announced June 25th launch in the West.
I don’t think I’ve seen anything much madder than removing a product entirely from sale because one of the actors got caught sniffing a few lines of coke. If all products were treated like this there’d barely be anything on shelves. It feels entirely disproportional and totally irrelevant to the validity of the product itself.
In addition to Judgment, Taki also voices Olaf in the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts 3. Disney Japan has issued a statement saying it will be replacing his dubbing with a future update.