Sega Halts Sales, Deletes Tweets About New Game After Actor's Cocaine Bust

The future of 'Judgement,' a 'Yakuza' series spinoff, is uncertain after 51-year-old actor Pierre Taki was reportedly arrested for cocaine possession.

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Mar 13 2019, 3:01pm

Taki in 'Judgement.' Screengrab: Sega

Fans of the Yakuza video game series can’t purchase the latest game in the gangster-genre franchise thanks to a real-life drug bust.

Publisher Sega has pulled Judgment, a Yakuza spinoff, from sale in Japan after 51-year-old actor and musician Pierre Taki—who plays a crime boss in the game—was reportedly busted for cocaine use.

In a statement on its official website and on Twitter, Sega explained that it has decided to stop physical and digital sales of the game while the facts are being confirmed, while expressing regret over Taki’s arrest and apologizing for the inconvenience. Sega also said it will delete any tweets it had made related to the game.

According to local news reports from Nippon.com and The Mainichi, police went to Taki’s home on Tuesday night after receiving several tips. Authorities searched both his home and car and found no drugs, according to reports, but a urine test later indicated that Taki had used cocaine. Taki was arrested.

Cocaine use or possession carries up to a seven year penalty in Japan, according to the Japan Times.

Judgement is a PS4 game set in the Yakuza universe—an open world series where players step into the stylish shoes of a yakuza gangster to fight rivals, play mini-games, and hang out on the streets of Japan. Judgement cast players as a judge who solves crimes and beats up criminals. Sega released it in Japan in December and planned a world-wide release in June.

There’s no word on Sega delaying the game’s global launch in addition to pausing sales, or making significant changes to the game, but it wouldn’t be out of step with Japan’s harsh treatment of drug use.

Celebrities busted with illegal drugs in Japan often face harsh punishment, including erasure.

As Kotaku pointed out, Universal Japan stopped selling the music of duo Chage & Aska after Aska, then 56, after he was arrested for MDMA possession in 2014. The arrest delayed a Studio Ghibli blu-ray box set release because it originally contained an Aska music video animated by the studio, which needed time to remove it from the set.

The Yakuza series is no stranger to this, either. Sega recast one of the characters in 2009’s Yakuza 4 after he was caught with cocaine, completely replacing him in a subsequent re-release.

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