Sega has unveiled Yakuza spin-off Judgment’s newly revised character model for crime boss Kyohei Hamura, which was overhauled following the arrest of actor Pierre Taki on charges of cocaine use and possession last month.
Japan’s drug laws are strict, and there’s enormous social stigma around those that break them. As such, Taki’s arrest quickly spurred Sega into withdrawing all copies of Judgment from sale, and other companies followed suit. Square Enix said it would patch Taki’s lines out of Kingdom Hearts 3 (he voices Frozen’s Olaf), and Disney even pulled its Frozen Blu-ray from shelves.
Following its decision to suspend sales of Judgment, Sega released a statement explaining that “due to unforeseen circumstances”, the character model and Japanese voice for the character of Kyohei Hamura would be “adjusted” prior to the game’s Western release.
And now, courtesy of a new video and images posted to Judgment developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s Twitter page, we’ve had our first proper look at those alterations.
Throughout Yagami’s investigation, he’ll have to collaborate with, and occasionally face off against, some of the most powerful individuals in Kamurocho.
— RGG Studio (@RGGStudio) April 16, 2019
They’re not, it has to be said, quite as dramatic as you might have been expecting. Although the original character model (based on Taki’s real-life appearance) has most certainly been “altered”, enough of its essence remains that Hamura is still immediately recognisable. It’ll be interesting to see how closely Hamura’s new Japanese voice work (which isn’t featured in the trailer) adheres to Taki’s original performance.
Despite all the fuss surrounding Taki’s arrest, and the extensive changes forced upon Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio in the immediate aftermath, Judgment will, thanks to the developer’s speedy work, still meet its originally planned Western release date on PS4 this June 25th.