A recent hire is putting SEGA's Judgement series in jeopardy after a lengthy disagreement over PC release rights.
SEGA's latest installment in its Yakuza spin-off series, Judgement, managed to sign major Japanese celebrity Takuya Kimura to star in the upcoming Lost Judgement game. Unfortunately, acquiring this supernova of star power might be the franchise's undoing, as the developers behind the title and Kimura's talent agents seem unable to reach a consensus regarding the platform release list.
Lost Judgement Could Be the Last Game in the Series
According to Nikkan Taishu, a Japanese digital publication with insider access to the conflict, Kimura's talent agency—Johnny & Associates, also known as "Johnny's"—is staunchly against releasing Lost Judgement on PC due to concern over the rights to their star's likeness. This is a problem for SEGA who views PC distribution as vital to a game's success.
SEGA noted that while Xbox and PlayStation are popular platforms, neglecting PC would be bad for business. They've seemed to have made the judgement that the series isn't worth continuing if they can't publish it on PC.
This isn't an uncommon opinion. Allowing a game to be listed on major retailers such as Steam and Stadia provides a huge avenue for publicity and profit. Access to major distributors like those mentioned above could make or break a title for a studio. After all, the more platforms a game is on, the wider an audience it can reach.
Kimura does not share these opinions, the report reads. He enjoys the games and his work on the series—and allegedly wants Judgement to continue. Nikkan Taishu notes that he expressed disappointment upon learning the franchise may come to a close after its second installment.
This isn't a new stance for Johnny's. The agency has been notoriously "internet shy," according to Kotaku. It has previously kept images of its clients out of online publications and required them to stay away from social media. In fact, it didn't have so much as a YouTube channel until just four years ago.
There will likely be further updates as talks continue. This story is still ongoing.