Following the announcement of JUDGE EYES at Sony Interactive Entertainment’s pre-Tokyo Game Show PlayStation Lineup Tour event, Sega released the first gameplay trailer and the first images of the upcoming game, which is in development at the same studio that works on the Yakuza series.
First of all, we learn that the full title of the game is JUDGE EYES: Shinigami no Yuigon, which translates as “JUDGE EYES: Testament of the Reaper.”
While Executive Director Toshihiro Nagoshi described the game as something completely different, it isn’t all that different at least in its setting. It’s still the Kamurocho we know and love, the fictionalized version of Tokyo’s Kabukicho red light district.
The protagonist is Takayuki Yagami, played by Takuya Kimura. He is a former lawyer who used to defend murderers, winning impossible trials that would have otherwise resulted in a conviction. Yet, as one of his clients murders another victim, he loves his will to work as a lawyer. He starts running a detective business in Kamurocho that takes on any case, with many of the residents gradually starting to go to him to solve their problems.
Yagami himself grew up in Kamurocho, and he is attached to the town and its inhabitants. However, one day he is asked to gather evidence on a serial murder case, and he is pulled into the mystery.
Yagami’s father was also a lawyer. When he was a young boy, he lived the lonely life of a rebel in Kamurocho, but thanks to the encouragement of many, he then followed the footsteps of his father and became a lawyer himself.
Placed in charge of defending the accused of a murder case, Shinpei Ookubo, he obtains a wonderful victory and Ookubo’s acquittal, against the odds of a judiciary system boasting a guilty result rate of 99.9%. Yet, Ookubo murdered a couple just after he was released, stabbing them several times with a kitchen knife.
The brutal murder ruined Yagami’s public reputation, as he was accused of misleading legal practice that caused a vicious murderer to be set free. While Ookubo is sentenced to death, Yagami loses everything.
Three years later, Yagami has removed his Lawyer’s badge and has become a detective in Kamurocho, living a troubled and violent life, and helping many people with a scarred past. However, a series of murders start to happen in town. Even for Kamurocho, where murders are not uncommon, the modus operandi is particularly brutal, with the eyes of the victims gouged out of their sockets.
Yagami receives a request from a law firm he knew from his former job, and starts to investigate the truth behind the mysterious serial murders.
More characters revealed today include lawyer Ryuzo Genda, played by Akira Nakao, detective Kazuya Ayabe, played by Kenichi Takito, elite detective Mitsuru Kuroiwa, played by Shosuke Tanihara, and Yakuza leader Kyohei Hamura, played by Pierretaki.
The player has a lot of different skills compared to the Yakuza series. He can eavesdrop, present evidence, tail his targets, disguise himself, lock picks, search crime scenes, and take pictures in order to build up his case. Of course, since Kamurocho is a dangerous place, there is also plenty of fighting.
There are various side cases to investigate besides the main serial murder case. On top of that, the inevitable “play spot” minigames make a comeback, including gambling, pinball, arcade games at the Club Sega, and even drone races.
The game will release in Japan on December 13th exclusively for PS4. No western release has been announced for now.
You can check out the gameplay trailer (alongside a clean version of the story trailer) and the first screenshots below.