Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi revealed to IGN on Friday that the developers of Ryu ga Gotoku Studio's Judgment (Judge Eyes: Shinigami no Yuigon) PlayStation 4 game have already finished changing the character model and Japanese voice for the character Kyohei Hamura. Denki Groove member and actor Pierre Taki (real name Masanori Taki) played Hamura in the original Japanese version of the game, and the character was based on his likeness. The Narcotics Control Department of Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry arrested Taki on March 12 for illegal possession and use of cocaine, prompting Nagoshi's development team to replace Hamura in the game.
Nagoshi explained that the game's team had to replace the model with an original one that is not performance capture, re-record the dialogue, change the prerendered cutscenes, replace face textures, and alter some trophies. He had heard the news of Taki's arrest on March 12. Within an hour, the team made a firm plan to replace Hamura's character. Nagoshi also commented that he felt strongly that changing the character was the right decision, as opposed to doing nothing about it.
The new model will be replaced when the game goes back on sale in Japan. Sega temporarily ceased sales of the game, which shipped in Japan last December. The new model will also appear in the game's Western version, which will launch as previously scheduled on June 25. Nagoshi credits the team's quick decision to change the model as the key to avoiding a possible delay for the Western release.
Square Enix is replacing Taki as the voice of Frozen's Olaf in the Japanese-dubbed version of the Kingdom Hearts III game, and Disney will replace him in the Japanese dub of Disney's Frozen 2 film sequel before it opens on November 22 in the United States and Japan. However, TOHO decided to open Mahjong Hōrōki 2020, a new live-action film based on Takehiro Irokawa's Mahjong Hōrōki novel, as planned on April 5 without any edits to Taki's scenes.
According to authorities, Taki tested positive for cocaine in a urine test conducted on the night of March 12. Authorities have confiscated his smartphone, and are investigating when and where he used it. Authorities also confiscated a rolled up South Korean won bill that he supposedly used as a straw. According to the Narcotics Control Department, Taki had been under investigation since fall last year. Taki was released on bail on Thursday.
Taki's lawyer reported last Friday that Taki checked into a medical facility, but could not comment further. The Sankei Sports paper reported that Taki will undergo a full-scale treatment program for drug dependency at the end of May, after the court system hands down its sentencing.
Sources: IGN (Daniel Robson), Sankei Sports via Hachima Kikō (link 2)