It’s being rumoured that Sega’s upcoming Lost Judgment will be the final entry in the Yakuza spin-off series, due to a disagreement between Sega and the talent agency representing the actor who plays series star Takayuki Yagami.
As reported by Kotaku, Japanese celebrity publication Nikkan Taishu has word from an industry insider claiming that a disagreement has come up between “those on the side of the game developer” (which we believe to be referring to Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku) and “those on the side of Johnny’s” referring to Johnny & Associates – the talent agency who represent series lead Takuya Kimura, who plays Yagami. According to the insider, the argument pertains to an “agreement regarding platforms to sell the game.”
Currently, Judgment is (and its upcoming sequel will be) available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 but not PC. As per the reports, Johnny & Associates will, according to the reports, not OK the release of the game on PC due to home computers having direct access to internet tools, and (presumably) as a result the ease of potentially modding and/or subsequent distributing of Kimura’s likeness.
Sega on the other hand are allegedly keen to see Judgment and the upcoming Lost Judgment on PC, however, having recently completed releasing all the main series Yakuza games on the platform with the recent Yakuza Remastered Collection. It appears the companies may now be at a stalemate, and so Nikkan Taishu say, Sega will draw a line under the spin-off series following the launch of Lost Judgment.
For what it’s worth, neither Sega nor Ryu Ga Gotoku have commented on the reports at the time of writing, so do take these rumours with the required dose of salt. There’s also no word on if the series could still continue with a new lead character or without the likeness of Kimura. Back during the original Japanese release of Judgment in 2018, the character Kyohei Hamura had his face and voice replaced following the arrest of actor Pierre Taki for drug use in his native Japan.
Given that the mainline Yakuza games are sticking to the excellent Yakuza: Like A Dragon‘s turn based RPG structure for the foreseeable future, it’ll be a shame if this rumour turns out to be true. Hopefully we’ll get an update soon, in the meantime Lost Judgment is currently set to release on September 24.