The Judgment series may come to an end with its second game, Lost Judgment, over a dispute regarding a potential PC version, according to a report from Japanese website Nikkan Taishu. The supposed dispute is between publisher Sega and Johnny & Associates, the talent agency for the franchise’s lead actor, Takuya Kimura.
According to the site’s sources, Sega has been pushing for PC versions of the Judgment games, something Johnny & Associates is against because it does not want Kimura to appear in PC games. The reasoning behind the company’s rejection isn’t quite clear, though Nikkan Taishu stated that Johnny & Associates (via VGC) “has strict control over the [likeness] rights of its talent, and the use of their image online is still limited to a few.” If neither the agency nor Sega is willing to budge on the issue, Judgment and Lost Judgment will never come to PC, leaving the publisher to lose out on the extra earnings it could pull from the additional platform.
“The game makers have decided that if they can’t distribute the game on Steam, it would be very difficult from a business standpoint, and the series will end with the second game, Lost Judgment,” the report says.
Though the report does not explicitly describe why Johnny & Associates is against the PC version, Music Times (via Kotaku) explained that the agency has struggled in the online realm in the past. Along with not opening a YouTube account until 2018, the agency has barred its talent from creating social media accounts and previously refused to allow press conference photos of its talent to appear online.
Takuya Kimura, meanwhile, has apparently enjoyed playing his role thus far in the Judgment series and hopes for the series to continue. However, the series’s future may now be in limbo. Sega has yet to provide official comment on the matter.
Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio revealed Lost Judgment as the series’s bigger and bolder sequel in May of this year, with plans to launch the game for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S on September 24. However, the game’s Japanese website originally listed the game for Windows 10 and Steam, though those platforms were eventually removed. Yakuza fan website The Tojo Dojo and Twitter’s Wario64 noticed that code for those versions remained shortly after their removal though.
Judgment launched as an action-centered, investigative spinoff of Sega’s Yakuza franchise in 2019. Ryu Ga Gotoku launched proper Google Stadia, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X | S remasters of the original game in April of this year.