Two brothers have pledged $20K to Shenmue 3 in order to spread awareness concerning underprivileged Chinese schools.
As detailed in a Shenmue Dojo forum post, the brothers explained that they run a school in China under the Volunteer English Teacher (V.E.T.) program and figured this extravagant donation to a video game set in China would help spread awareness about the organisation and what it does.
The brothers noted that the V.E.T. program teaches English to both children and young adults. "Many of these kids come from small villages in the Guilin area and may not have an opportunity to learn elsewhere," they explained.
"We could have given $20,000 directly to building the school and it's programs but we feel that this pledge will lead to more exposure and support than what we could do through other mediums," the brothers said of this unusual business decision.
This isn't to say that the brothers haven't put any of their own money into the school first hand though, as back in 2012 they pledged $10K of their own capital into the V.E.T. program.
Since they've donated $20K to the game, that will net them two dinners with Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki, and they're hoping to convince him to put one of their assistant teachers in the game as a non-hostile NPC.
"We don't want to be a character attacking Ryo," the educators said. "They deserve to be recognised for their hard work. They are volunteers and many of them come from poor rice farms. We are also hoping that since we will be listed in the credits as a special sponsor that it can have our school with a logo and a website rather than our names."
"I don't think any of this would be asking too much," the school heads pondered. "I think it would help get attention to the school. We would love any assistance in helping us achieve this. We also would love to have Yu Suzuki come to the school some day but we won't don't want to be greedy."
Pledging $20K to a crowdfunded video game is certainly an odd way to market a voluntary educational endeavor and there's no telling if the school will directly benefit from Suzuki or the audience at large, but we also live a world where a man successfully pre-ordered a video game with bottle caps, while someone else raised over $55K to make potato salad (though the proceeds were donated to charity), so who knows what's possible these days?
The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter has currently raised $4,390,670 and has 11 days left before its 17th July deadline.