The real world is just as crazy as the games themselves
Those who are at all interested in the neon-colored world of Yakuza have probably noticed that there has been quite a lot going on. Most has been good, some has been bad, and a whole lot has been confusing as all hell. So just like a Yakuza game come to life. For those that have not been following what is going on or want to know the latest, it will all be in the following paragraphs. Hang tight everyone, this is gonna be a bumpy ride.
Judgment is the first game to discuss in all this, a game that is not Yakuza but set within the same universe. Several weeks ago, this game got a western release date of 25 June of this year. This was very exciting as this is a different kind of game. Yakuza is wacky and over the top almost all the time. Judgment will have elements of that but will be a most serious game overall.
You play as a lawyer named Takayuki Yagami, who must be very good at his job. Takayuki defends a man accused of murder and succeeds in getting his client a ”not guilty” verdict. The man is free to back on the streets.
This is clearly a very bad thing as he then gets arrested for lighting his apartment on fire and turning his girlfriend into swiss cheese. Takayuki is forced to leave his job at the law firm because no one trusts him, and he instead becomes a private investigator. Those who have seen the Jack Irish movies should feel right at home so far.
In his new life and adventures, he is tasked with investigating all kinds of unsavory situations. But for this story, the crime is quite gruesome. A serial killer stalks the streets making the whole city feel uneasy. All of the victims are missing their eyes making me hope that the graphics will be lacking. Based on the pictures, I’m out of luck.
The story does sound really interesting, but now to get back to the real world gossip. Judgment was released in Japan back in December, but then this past month, voice actors Pierre Taki was arrested for cocaine use. Sega ultimately decided to halt all sales of the game for the time being.
That may seem like an extreme reaction to most of us, but in Japan, they take drug abuse very seriously. Pulling the game would actually be considered standard procedure, especially since it had very recently come out. If had been out for a longer period of time perhaps things would be different. I mean Kevin Spacey might be up on charges, but I can still buy American Beauty. It’s not like it’s about him being pedo… Nevermind.
Anyway, Taki has found himself in some serious hot water. Not only has he gotten Judgment pulled, but he also lends his voice to Olaf in the Japanese release of Kingdom Hearts III. Unsurprisingly, Disney has already announced that they will be changing that as soon as possible.
All of this has thrown the western release of Judgment into question. Sega is offering choices as to whether you would rather play the game in English or Japanese, so Taki’s work would normally have been included. It seems Sega has made the decision to recast the character and get the game back on store shelves sooner rather than later. The release date of June 25 of the west has not been altered. If they want this done quickly maybe they should see if Christopher Plumber is available.
That is not all the Yakuza-verse is giving us though. It has been confirmed that there is a new proper Yakuza title currently under development. Those that played Yakuza 6 will probably already know that our beloved protagonist will not be back. Kiryu’s story was wrapped up quite well at the end of the last game so now feels like the perfect time for that change.
The new main character will be a man named Kasuga Ichiban, who most people will know nothing about. Apparently, his first appearance was in Yakuza online. This is a mobile game exclusively released in Japan. Naturally, a large number of us will know nothing about it. I’m sure we will learn more about him and what other changes the series will be making as time goes on. But for right now, that is all we really know about this game.
That was a lot of information to come tumbling down on us in the last month, but it seems things have slowed down a bit now. So Sega will have some time to clean up the Taki mess and do right by the next game.
Judgment will be out in the west on June 25 on the PlayStation 4.
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