Kingdom Hearts 3 publisher Square Enix is also finding itself in a bind following the arrest of Pierre Taki, The prominent Japanese voice actor was arrested earlier this week on drug charges (allegedly cocaine use) and has forced several projects to make changes.
In a new press release, Square Enix confirmed that it will be replacing Taki as the voice of Olaf in Kingdom Hearts 3. While the character only appears briefly in the game’s Frozen world, the intent is to distance itself from Taki.
Unfortunately for Square, while Olaf is not a major player in the Frozen world, his role does factor into gameplay so removing the character is likely out of the question. And since Kingdom Hearts 3 is one of the biggest releases of 2019, there was little chance that Square would remove it from sale. The only answer was to announce a planned change of voice actor.
There is currently no announcement regarding who will replace Taki, or how Square Enix plans to handle the replacement. Presumably, Kingdom Hearts 3 owners will need to download a small update some time in the future.
This is the latest in a string of bold moves regarding Taki’s work, which includes music recordings and several TV shows. Perhaps the biggest reaction to the news, though, is Sega’s decision to remove Judgment completely from sale rather than patch out his voice work out at a later date.
Some may be wondering why so many companies are reacting this way to drug charges, but that is the nature of Japanese culture and law. Drug-related crimes are seen very differently in the region, to the point that those charged for possession or use are given intense prison sentences with numerous unique rules (no visitors, solitary confinement).
So having his voice removed as Olaf is likely very low on the totem pole of issues that Pierre Taki is facing at the moment. On the flip side, companies are racing to remove any trace of his connection to their products, like Kingdom Hearts 3.