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Celebrating Rooster Teeth from RED vs. BLUE to RWBY and Beyond

In 2003,  the creative powerhouse that is Rooster Teeth  was founded by Michael “Burnie” Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Gus Sorola, and Joel Heyman—and if you know your internet history, that’s two whole years before YouTube launched.  The fruits of that fateful union started with the massively popular series Red Vs. Blue, and later grew to include the globally acclaimed animated show RWBY, the RT Podcast, live-action shorts, and even its own convention, RTX. In 14 years, the once tiny company has grown exponentially, won the internet, and become a household name.

With season 15 (yes, 15!) of Red Vs. Blue set to premiere on April 2, and to celebrate the company’s breadth of work, we’re taking fans and the uninitiated alike on a trip down Rooster Teeth memory lane. Strap yourselves in and prepare for a good time.

“Why Are We Here?”: The Beginning

It’s hard to think of a time when we didn’t have Rooster Teeth, but as we already mentioned, the team came together before even YouTube was on the scene. Prior to forming the company, Burns and Sorola teamed up to create a hilarious parody of Apple’s Mac ads for their website, DrunkGamers.com. While the video was posted purely for their friends’ entertainment, it quickly went viral and resulted in the pair officially forming the company a full year later, with the debut of Red Vs. Blue.

If you’ve somehow managed to shuffle through life for the past 14 years without hearing of the hilarious series, let me break it down for you–the RvB features comedic v.o. over gameplay from Bungie’s sci-fi shooter, Halo, and initially centered around two opposing military squads engaged in a civil war. Much like the Mac ad, the first episode of Red vs. Blue was a viral success, and after several more episodes, the expense of hosting the videos on their own server pushed the team to distributing video downloads through Bit Torrent. Eventually they decided to add a PayPal donation button to their site, and later gave fans the option to subscribe for early access to their content with the Rooster Teeth First program.

Lazer Team 01 27 16

To Live-action, Anime, and Beyond

Following the success of Red vs. Blue, the team eventually ventured into the world of live-action in 2009 with Captain Dynamic, a mini-series that promoted the game City of Heroes and starred Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. This project eventually led to the team starting another live-action series, Rooster Teeth Shorts. The sketch comedy show parodied their lives at the Rooster Teeth office.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the company’s live-action work. They’ve also produced Immersion, a creative concept that tests the concepts of video games in real life (like destructible objects, or how a person would survive in an open-world Fallout wasteland). It’s got a serious MythBuster‘s vibe, and we absolutely love it.

RWBY FEAT ROOSTER TEETH

Over the years, they’ve produced various other series like Million Dollars, But…., RT-ES, The Gauntlet, On the Spot, opened well-known divisions like Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, The Know, and GameAttack, and announced a partnership with the internet sensation Kinda Funny. Perhaps the most exciting release was the feature-length film Lazer Team in 2015. Thanks to a partnership with YouTube Red, a sequel is already in pre-production.

But lets not forget the animation division. As the guys pointed out to Dan in our official SXSW interview at the top of the page, the company was started with a genuine love for animation. While they didn’t have the means to create the animation themselves in the beginning, they eventually added the anime-styled CG-animated show, RWBY, to their stable in 2013. The show was a viral hit and led to the spinoff series, RWBY Chibi, which premiered last year. Back in January, Rooster Teeth officially announce the second season of Chibi, and Volume five of RWBY, which are set to premiere in May 2017 and Fall 2017 respectively.

Growing Community

What’s so remarkable about the early stages (and continued success) of the company, is their tenacity to continue to change the game with each new project, and the team’s nose for what fans will respond to and enjoy. As the group explained in the past, they only make content that they themselves would want to see. Fans appreciate that genuine approach, and in turn have added fuel to the burning machine.

In 2011, the company held the first ever RTX, an annual gaming convention that has since expanded to Sydney, Australia, and will soon hop over the pond to London England. While the first RTX gathering only saw a couple hundred attendees, the numbers quickly increased with 2016 bringing in an estimated 60,000 people. Like the popular Comic-Con, the event features panels, exhibitor booths, and meet and greet areas with the folks from RT. It’s safe to say the Rooster Teeth fandom is real.

For more on Rooster Teeth, check out our past coverage, and our own Dan Casey’s interview with the team at SXSW 2017 at the top of the page!

Images: Rooster Teeth


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