Takuya Kimura’s agency is blocking Lost Judgment from coming to Steam later this year, and this could lead to the series being canceled.
The reason Lost Judgment isn’t coming to Steam has been revealed, and that dispute spell the end for the detective game Yakuza spinoff series after it releases. The sequel to 2018’s gritty Judgement was recently shown off at the latest latest PlayStation State of Play, where more of its high-octane martial arts combat and vast assortment of side activities was shown off.
Yakuza series producer Kazuki Hosokawa promises that Lost Judgement will feature a stronger focus on detective work as protagonist Takayuki Yagami investigates a man charged with sexual assault and murder in Tokyo – as well as several improvements to Judgement’s combat and movement systems. Lost Judgment will have standard and Ultimate editions when it launches on all PlayStation and Xbox platforms this September, but players looking to pick the Yakuza spinoff up on Steam are in for a disappointment, and the reason is one that few in the West could have seen coming.
As reported by VGC, Japan entertainment outlet Nikkan Taishu claims that Johnny & Associates, the talent agency representing actor Takuya Kimura (who both voices Yagami in the Japanese dub and provides his in-game likeness), is blocking Lost Judgement from being released on Steam due to not wanting Kimura to appear in PC games. The reasons for this mindset are still unknown at this time, but the most likely one provided is that PCs have uniform and direct access to the internet, hypothetically making it easier to pirate Kimura’s image. Ultimately, Johnny & Associates’ stance may cause Sega to pull the plug on the Judgement sub-franchise entirely after Lost Judgement‘s 2021 launch.
This would be a shame indeed, as both Judgement and its home series Yakuza have had success in the West over the past few years. Judgment was greeted with high sales in both its original release and recent PlayStation 5 remaster, and 2020’s Yakuza: Like A Dragon turned many heads thanks to its shift to turn-based JRPG combat – a change that will carry over to the rest of the series going forward.
The rationale behind Lost Judgement not being released on Steam is as bizarre as anything to come out of the infamously quirky Yakuza franchise, but it seems that there is little Sega can do in the situation given that the hold-up is tied to Takuya Kimura’s agency. Since he portrays the main character, using his likeness in a way that falls under Johnny & Associates’ jurisdiction is unavoidable without a major retooling or even outright cancellation. Hopefully things won’t come to that, but in the meantime, Steam-exclusive players will sadly have to miss out when Lost Judgement launches on September 24.
Lost Judgment will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One on September 24, 2021.
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