Sega has withdrawn Yakuza spin-off Judgment from sale after one of its performers was arrested on alleged drug charges.
Via a brief statement (thanks, Kotaku), Sega called the event "highly regrettable" and said it had reviewed arrest reports on Pierre Taki, who plays Yakuza Kyohei Hamura. Given Taki reportedly admitted using cocaine, the publisher has decided to withdraw the game from sale both physically and digitally as it considers how best to proceed.
It’s currently unclear how long Sega plans to withdraw the game for, or how this might affect the game’s intended worldwide release later this year.
According to the Mainichi News and Nippon, investigators searched Taki’s car and home following a tip-off and while no cocaine was found in Taki’s possession, he was later arrested after testing positive for cocaine – the punishment for which includes a lengthy custodial sentence.
As Kotaku notes, the Japanese publisher is even going so far as to delete social media posts about the game.
Sega had been hoping Judgment would help reverse its fortunes following a year-over-year profits drop of 62 per cent. In its financial reporting on the first half of the fiscal year, Sega saw consolidated net sales fall by 12 per cent year-over-year (YoY) to ¥171 billion ($1.5 billion), and its overall profits drop 62 per cent to ¥6.7 billion ($59 million).
In the Entertainment Contents Business – in which sits Sega’s video game business – things were a little more positive with a 5.6 per cent net sales rise to ¥107 billion ($951 million), but the operating income also fell by almost 39 per cent to a little over ¥6 billion ($55 million). Sega’s plans to launch multiple new titles "that capitalize on existing and new IPs" included specific reference to "Project Judge (working title)" – also known as Judgment.
We’ve reached out to Sega for comment.