Judgment got mired in scandal when actor Pierre Taki, who voices a character with his likeness in the game, got caught in a cocaine bust. With Japan’s extremely strong drug laws, companies hastened to dissociate with him—Sega included, who suspended all sales of the game, and proceeded to purge his likeness from it.
On that front, it was not actually a decision made hastily. Rather, the team considered various options, and then decided to remove Taki from the game entirely. The swiftness with which they acted helped them be able to meet the previously announced western release date, director Toshihiro Nagoshi told IGN.
“I heard it on the news just like everyone else,” he said. “Within 30 minutes I had suggested various options, and within an hour we had a firm plan [to replace the character]. By the following morning we had an estimate for the cost. There was an option to leave it as it was, but personally I felt strongly that changing the character was the right decision.
“If we had debated the options for several days, we would have never been able to keep the same release date.”
It seems like the process was more extensive than you might think, too.
“First of all we had to replace the character model and re-record all of the dialogue,” Producer Kazuki Hosokawa said. “But replacing the character model is only the start: We had to change all of the pre-rendered cut scenes Hamura appeared in; also, his face appears on some of the evidence that you present on your smartphone, so we had to replace those textures; and some trophies had to be changed too.”
On the whole, it sounds like a gruelling ordeal, but one that they were able to navigate with relative ease thanks to the promptness and swiftness of their action. Now, we all get to play Judgment when it launches exclusively for PS4 on June 25.