Sega Pulls "Judgment" Video Game After Voice Actor's Cocaine Arrest

By Bryan Le 03/18/19

Sega deleted tweets promoting the game, possibly preparing to remove the voice actor from the game entirely.

Pierre Taki as yakuza crime boss Kyohei Hamamura in Sega's Judgement.
It probably won't be Taki mean mugging in future releases of the game. Sega

Japanese actor Pierre Taki could be erased from his role in the video game Judgment after he tested positive for cocaine use. Somewhat ironically, his voice and likeness were used for the role of a yakuza crime boss.

Sega is taking steps to distance itself from Taki, deleting all tweets promoting Judgment (titled Judge Eyes in Japan) and indefinitely halting further sales of the game, released in Japan in December 2018.

The hold will continue until they decide what they should ultimately do about the big budget game that is already slated for international release later this year.

“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,” read a statement from Sega. “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.”

Taki admitted to using a small amount of cocaine, which carries a penalty of seven years in prison in Japan. It is also likely to be a death sentence for his career.

Disney Japan is replacing the actor as the voice of the snowman Olaf in the Japanese release of both the upcoming movie Frozen 2 and the already-released game Kingdom Hearts 3. His voice will be replaced in the latter with a pending software update.

Seeing an actor or performer’s career come to an end from a single allegation of drug use is unheard of in the West, but it’s commonplace in Japanese media.

In 2014, Aska, a member of the pop duo Chage & Aska, was arrested for possession of MDMA. Universal Japan stopped all sales of his (and his bandmate’s) music, and Disney Japan removed the group’s song and animated music video from all subsequent releases of a Studio Ghibli animated collection.

All this has some speculating that Sega is gearing up to recast and replace Taki in Judgment as well. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time Sega replaced an actor in its games, having previously swapped out the voice and likeness of another actor in the re-release of the game Yakuza 4 following his own cocaine allegations.

As of yet, there has been no official announcement of what they plan to do with Taki and Judgment.

Fans of the game outside of Japan, who have anticipated Judgment’s international release later this year, await news of a probable delay.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter