How a small amount of cocaine may have just put the western release of Judgement at risk

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Judgement (1) (2)

Judgement! It’s a new game from the Yakuza team over at Sega, that looks like a Yakuza game, smells like a Yakuza game and even horrifically maims various gangsters in its signature Kamurocho district just like previous Yakuza games did. That being said, it’s totally not a Yakuza game, as Judgement stars private detective Takayuki Yagami as he takes on a serial killer who is currently leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

Released back in December over in Japan, Judgement is still headed west in June once localisation work has wrapped up. Or it would have been, were it not Columbia’s most infamous export managing to derail the entire game. It all started when one of Judgement’s actors, Pierre Taki who lends his voice and facial likeness to the Yakuza boss character Kyohei Hamura, got rumbled for having used a “small quantity of cocaine” according to the Japan Times.

What’s a quick snort of booger sugar cost you then? In most countries, you can get away with use of the substance, and even get a slap on the wrist sentence if you happen to be a celebrity. It’s at this point that I have to stress that Japan does not fuck around when it comes to drugs. The nation has a zero tolerance policy for drugs of any kind and the long dick of the law will come down hard on anyone caught using a banned substance.

This attitude goes beyond the police and deep into Japanese culture, as Sega is now scrambling to wipe Taki’s presence from the game. In a press release, Sega announced that distribution and promotion of Judgement from their side would be halted, Taki replaced within the game and off shelves for the time being.

Judgement (1)

For the people caught in the middle of Taki’s use of Colombian marching powder? It can only be heart-breaking for Judgement’s team to see their hard work get embroiled in this debacle, as Judgement’s localisation work alone is a Herculean task that required separate subtitle scripts for both the English subbed and dubbed versions of the game, as that was “the right thing to do” according to Sega localisation producer Scott Strichart.

Hopefully this waffle powder drug bust won’t lead to Judgement not being released in the West, but chances are high that some hefty delays are on the way.

Last Updated: March 14, 2019

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