Signs once suggested that Sega planned to put Lost Judgment on PC via Steam, but any sign of that version disappeared a long time ago. Now, rumors have surfaced that Sega and Japanese talent agency Johnny's are in a dispute about whether or not Lost Judgment should release on PC. Johnny's represents Takuya Kimura, a beloved Japanese actor who plays Takayuki Yagami in the Judgment series, and famously restricts appearances of its clients on the Internet. Not only does Johnny's want to keep Lost Judgment off PC, but the inability to come to an agreement might mean that Sega abandons the franchise altogether.
Lost Judgment isn't the first time that Johnny's showed an aversion to interacting with the Internet. In fact, the agency was exceedingly late to join social media and websites like YouTube, despite representing a ton of Japanese stars. Johnny's manages several popular Japanese boy bands, including the now-disbanded SMAP, which Kimura was once a member of. Johnny's historically avoids letting information and images of talent like Kimura surface online from venues other than itself, and it seems that Lost Judgment's plight comes from the same desire for distance from the Internet.
Sega, meanwhile, definitely wants to give the PC market access to Lost Judgment. Recently Sega has shown an increasing eagerness to make its games available on Steam; for instance, the Yakuza franchise is broadly available on Steam, including the critically acclaimed Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Sega's desire for PC releases is further proven by Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Strikers, which both got recent, successful releases on PC. It's only logical that Sega wants to make PC releases part of its normal operations, reaching a broader market and offering fans more options.
Unfortunately, these two companies just can't seem to agree on Lost Judgment's fate. Johnny's may now be making use of YouTube and offering greater accessibility to its talent, but it's still rather restrictive about where and how its clients appear. Apparently, one place that it doesn't want Takuya Kimura to appear is on PC. It's unclear why Johnny's feels so strongly about this, but it's certainly an inconvenience for Sega. Without Johnny's blessing, it's just not possible for Lost Judgment to reach the critical PC market. Sega might consider that too much of an inconvenience to continue the Judgment series, and Johnny's might be too averse to further PC negotiations to let Kimura keep starring in the franchise.
If there's any sign of hope for Lost Judgment's future, it may be Takuya Kimura himself. Reports suggest that Kimura really enjoys playing Takayuki Yagami, so he'd presumably be pretty upset if Johnny's PC avoidance meant he had to drop the role. Kimura might have the influence to convince Johnny's to change its stance, preserving the Judgment franchise. After all, there doesn't appear to be anything other than principle making Johnny's prevent the PC release. Since he's on the inside as its client, he might have the most influence over Johnny's principles.
Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku could consider recasting the role of Takayuki in a theoretical third Judgment game, but since he uses the likeness of Kimura, that could be off the table. If Judgment continues, it might star a different protagonist altogether. Regardless of what Sega settles on, it'll clearly have to do something drastic to keep Judgment afloat. The Yakuza franchise will be just fine if Judgment comes to an end, but on the whole, it'd be a shame to see such a promising new member of the detective game genre come to an end. Hopefully, Johnny's and Sega can come to an agreement someday after all.
Lost Judgment releases for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on September 24, 2021.