After actor and musician Pierre Taki was arrested for alleged cocaine use, Sega decided to stop selling the game in Japan and remove him from PS4 game Judgement. In a recent livestream, Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi discussed the decision.
Currently Sega’s Chief Creative Officer, Nagoshi is credited with launching the Yakuza series and now works as Executive Producer on the games and their spin-offs.
Nagoshi recalled the moment he saw the news on Yahoo! Japan that night, he immediately started getting calls and messages. Discussions got underway regarding what should be done. “But we quickly decided to declare we were refraining from selling the game.”
“But, to be honest, there’s no correct answer,” he continued, adding that while he did vote to pull the game, he can understand how people think the decision went too far or that the game itself is unrelated to the arrest. According to Nagoshi, reactions on Twitter and in the news were eventually divided. “So, that’s why, there isn’t an answer (for this),” he said. Instead, there are simply guidelines.
“If I’m asked why I voted to pull the game, it had just come out and if this were a game that had been released in the past and time had passed, the way we’d look at it might be different. It’s another matter when something just launched a few months before and is still being sold.”
Last year, actor Hiroki Narimiya was replaced in Yakuza 4 due to his own cocaine allegations.
Nagoshi believes it’s not that these kind of incidents are more likely to happen by working with celebrities. “Staffers could cross dangerous, red lines, so this isn’t a moment when things can be pinned on celebrities,” he explained. So if something unpleasant or illicit happens, it’s a matter of making a distinction between right and wrong.
Nagoshi also said the news claiming Judgement 2 had been greenlit and that there was talk of Judgement 3 was untrue. However, he said that if there is a sequel, Pierre Taki would not be involved. Either the character would be changed, cut from the sequel or portrayed by another actor.