Rooster Teeth Productions

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Rooster Teeth Productions

Rooster Teeth Productions is a production group from Austin, Texas that specializes in the creation of live action shorts and machinima, or films created using real-time, interactive engines from computer and video games. Originally, the group ran a website called, a reviewing site in which Burnie Burns, Gustavo (Gus) Sorola, and Geoff Ramsey reviewed video games while drunk in order to try to get games from video game developers. Burnie Burns also created voice-over-enhanced gameplay videos of Bungie Studios' popular first-person shooter video game Halo: Combat Evolved. Eventually, these videos led to the creation of Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, an award-winning comic science fiction series that premiered on April 1, 2003 and ended on June 28, 2007, with the release of episode 100. Red vs. Blue gained a huge fan base and continues to be the main focus of Rooster Teeth's work.

Rooster Teeth is currently producing the fourth season of Rooster Teeth Shorts and a second season of Immersion. The Red vs. Blue season 11 finale was released on November 11. Season 12 will be released on April 28, 2014

Early company history[edit | edit source]

While attending the University of Texas at Austin, Burnie Burns and Matt Hullum collaborated with actor Joel Heyman on a 1997 independent film called The Schedule.[1] The film helped Hullum and Heyman to find work in Los Angeles, California, but otherwise had limited success.[1] Working for a local company named Telenetwork, Burns later met Geoff Ramsey and Gustavo Sorola, and the three formed, a website where the three reviewed various video games while drunk.[2] According to Ramsey, the group tried to receive free games to review, but "incurred the wrath" of several game developers in doing so.[3]

One of the non-gameplay videos that the drunkgamers crew created during this time was a live-action parody of the Apple Switch ad campaign. This video featured Sorola as the main actor, used Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as background music, and focused on the lack of games available for the Apple Macintosh computer.[4]

Machinima[edit | edit source]

Red vs. Blue[edit | edit source]

Responsible for reviewing games on the Microsoft Xbox, Burns regularly posted gameplay videos of Halo: Combat Evolved and eventually began to add humor to them with voice-overs.[3] The idea for a serial came next,[3] and a trailer for Red vs. Blue was posted in 2002.[5] Six months later, the drunkgamers website closed. However, the following week, the magazine Computer Gaming World asked permission to include the Switch parody in a CD to be included with an issue. To take advantage of the resultant publicity, Rooster Teeth re-encoded the video to point to, and revived the Red vs. Blue project. Burns also contacted his old friends Matt Hullum and Joel Heyman and convinced them to work on the series.[6]

In a parody of science fiction films and games[7] and of military life,[8] Red vs. Blue tells the story of two groups of soldiers fighting a civil war in a desolate box canyon. Initially, Rooster Teeth expected the series to consist of only six to eight episodes.[9] However, the series became popular quickly, receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day.[10] Accordingly, Burns conceived an extension of the plot.[11] The series' fifth and supposedly final season officially ended with episode 100, released on June 28, 2007.[12] However, the group has continued to release new material, including three additional complete seasons and numerous PSA announcements. These PSAs included a five-part mini-series to promote Halo 3.[13]

In late 2009, animator Monty Oum was hired by RT after his popular Haloid video caught their attention, with his employment being announced at PAX East 2010. He provides pre-rendered character animations to achieve action scenes or character movements in Red vs. Blue that are unable to be done using just the Halo engine. Season Eight of Red vs. Blue is the first season of the series to make extensive use of animation, and Burnie revealed in an interview that he and Oum are in the process of creating a completely animated series with no machinima elements.[14]

Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles won several awards, including four from the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences.[15] Writing for the New York Times, Clive Thompson credited the series as the first machinima production "to break out of the underground".[16] Red vs. Blue videos have been shown in Xbox demo kiosks,[17] and content that is included with the premium "Legendary" edition of Halo 3.[18] Members of the cast were also featured in an Easter egg in the campaign mode of Halo 3. Their relationship with Halo developer Bungie has grown to the point that Rooster Teeth commonly produces videos on Bungie's behalf, such as promotional series for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach in August 2009 and August 2010, respectively, as well video on Bungie's behalf in honor of 'Bungie Day' during July 2010.

Besides The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Rooster Teeth Productions' other Red vs. Blue productions consist of three mini-series—Out of Mind, Recovery One, and Relocated—and three full-length series, Reconstruction, Red vs. Blue: Recreation and Red vs. Blue: Revelation, which compose the Recollections trilogy.

Other machinima[edit | edit source]

n May 2004, at the E3 gaming convention, Rooster Teeth was introduced to The Sims 2 and realized that the game would be suitable for a series that parodied reality television; Electronic Arts agreed.[19] The result was The Strangerhood, a comedy series that centers on eight strangers who awake one day unaware of where they are or how they arrived there.[20] Its first season of 17 episodes completed on April 27, 2006.[21] In 2005, the group collaborated with Paul Marino[22] on Strangerhood Studios, a spin-off commissioned by the Independent Film Channel.[23] This spin-off was the first machinima series to be commissioned for broadcast[23] and won an award for Best Editing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[24]

Also in 2006, Rooster Teeth partnered with Maybeck Productions to create PANICS, a short series that chronicles the misadventures of Bravo Team a group of soldiers sent to investigate a paranormal disturbance .[23] The four publicly released episodes were released between September 27, 2005 and October 18, 2005,[25] and a prequel was released with F.E.A.R. - Director's Edition.[26] The mini-series won an award for Best Writing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[24]

In mid-2006, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to direct[27] commercials for their EA Sports brand of games, including Madden NFL 2007 and NCAA Football 2007, for broadcast on television.[28] Rooster Teeth released some of this work on their website.[29] In late November 2006, controversy arose over a Madden NFL 07 commercial, when Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark complained about his depiction in the commercial.[30] Hit and tackled multiple times in the advertisement by Philadelphia Eagles players, Clark stated, "I haven't seen the commercial, but I'm upset about it. It makes me look like a punk."[30] In response, Rooster Teeth posted a director's cut, in which Clark plays and dominates every position.[31]

Rooster Teeth's other machinima productions are 1-800-Magic, a four-episode mini-series created in 2006 using the game Shadowrun, and Supreme Surrender, a 2008 mini-series made using Supreme Commander.

Achievement Hunter[edit | edit source]

During 2008, a website dedicated to finding achievements was created in which the staff and others demonstrate how to get achievements in various games, called

The idea for Achievement hunter was first thought of when Jack Pattillo and Geoff Ramsey's interests in gaming achievements led to a realization that there wasn't a community-based achievements website, and in turn Achievement Hunter was created, which shares design, user profile, and forums of the main Rooster Teeth website. The site is run by Pattillo and Ramsey and a select handful of members from the Rooster Teeth community to help moderate the website, who regularly release achievement guides and easter egg videos.

The current golden members of Achievement Hunter are Jack Pattillo, Geoff Ramsey, Michael Jones, Gavin Free, Ryan Haywood and Jeremy Dooley. Unlike any other achievement-dedicated websites, Achievement Hunter is highly dependent on public contribution. Because of this, it is able to have highly in-depth guides across many games, even expanding its focus from Xbox 360 games to those on PC, PS3, Steam, and even Windows Phone 7.

Live action[edit | edit source]

Captain Dynamic[edit | edit source]

In early 2009, Rooster Teeth first ventured into live-action with a mini-series to promote the online game "City of Heroes", entitled Captain Dynamic. It was based around a team of writers who are hired to use the new content creation tools in the game to promote the worst superhero in the world, Captain Dynamic. Directed by Matt Hullum and written by Burnie Burns, the series starred Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Rooster Teeth employee and actor Joel Heyman, and actor Shannon McCormick.[32] Rooster Teeth staff and guest actors were used in minor and extra roles. The series also led to the release of an iPhone app called the Awesome Button.

Rooster Teeth Shorts[edit | edit source]

Following the positive reception of Captain Dynamic, Rooster Teeth began producing another live-action series, Rooster Teeth Shorts, a sketch comedy which parodies life at their offices in a similar fashion to the webcomic. The series features the staff of Rooster Teeth, who all play caricatures of themselves, as well as occasional appearances from voice actors from some of their machinima series. The first season ran for twenty episodes, which along with the Captain Dynamic mini-series has been released on DVD. The second season of RT Shorts debuted on April 23, 2010, with new episodes released weekly via the Rooster Teeth website[33] until a hiatus during late July 2010, during which the team focused all their efforts towards Red vs. Blue episodes. With production on Red vs. Blue complete, weekly RT Shorts episodes began again on August 28, 2010.

The Gauntlet[edit | edit source]

In late October 2012, Rooster Teeth debuted their reality series, The Gauntlet. Contestants from around the nation compete to win $10,000. Burnie hosted and Ali Baker was the announcer. Each week, teams competed in various games to advance and get one step closer to the prize, with the losing teams being forced to compete against each other to see who stays and who leaves. Burnie could have chosen to send no one home, or to eliminate the equivalent of a team entirely.

Future projects[edit | edit source]

At PAX East 2010, Rooster Teeth debuted a pilot episode for a new live action series titled Immersion, in which the staff tests concepts of video games in real life. The episode is now available to watch on their website. In October 2010, Burnie announced in The Drunk Tank Podcast that production of new Immersion episodes had begun.

Rooster Teeth moved into a new office in early September 2010, which they have made into "half a warehouse" in order to allow plenty of room for live action sets.[34] In the future, they hope to produce a live-action feature-length film.[35]

Animations[edit | edit source]

RWBY[edit | edit source]

RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an anime-styled American CG-Animated web-series created by the Rooster Teeth Productions' animation studio. The series was created and was directed by animator Monty Oum until his unexpected death in February 2015. Episodes are released every Thursday on Rooster Teeth's website and simulcasted on Crunchyroll. One week after release they are also uploaded to YouTube. The first Episode of RWBY premiered on July 5, 2013 at RTX 2013 and was released on the Rooster Teeth site on July 18, 2013. The second season was announced to be premiered at the 2014 RTX in July 4–6.

Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures[edit | edit source]

Other products[edit | edit source]

Webcomic[edit | edit source]

In 2006, Rooster Teeth Productions formed its own webcomic series, Rooster Teeth Comics. The strip satirizes the staff members in their regular daily lives, although often pushing each member's personality to the extreme for comedic effect. The humorous situations often relate to real life events in the lives of the staff, or other widely recognized current events. It is drawn by Luke McKay, a member of the Rooster Teeth community, and written by Griffon Ramsey, the wife of Geoff Ramsey. In 2011, the choice was made to end the comic. The comics were released three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. All five years of the comic have been released in separate collected edition books.

Grifball[edit | edit source]

In late 2007, Rooster Teeth created a Halo 3 multiplayer game-type called Grifball, played on the map Foundry. The idea for the game came from a joke that was cut from an episode promoting the Heroic Map Pack, in which Grif creates the "laziest gametype in the world"; a round of capture the flag where the flag spawns right next to the capture point. Burnie realized that the frantic nature of only having seconds to stop the flag reaching its destination was fun, and changed it to the "Assault" gametype so that each team had a point to defend, as well as spawning the players with weapons.[36]

The name "Grifball" comes from a gag in season four of Red vs. Blue when Sarge exclaims, "This is the best game since Grifball", while trying to shoot Grif down from a ledge. In reference to the joke, Burnie changed the game settings so that players who pick up the ball turn orange, Grif's armor color. Players who pick up the ball will either explode when they plant the bomb or will be killed by an enemy, referencing Sarge's hatred of Grif.

The gametype became so popular that Bungie began to regularly include the gametype in the Double EXP Weekends playlist of Halo 3 matchmaking, making it a ranked playlist for a limited time in December, 2009,[37] and adding Grifball courts with identical specifications to the original into other maps. Rooster Teeth has organized their own official Grifball leagues, covering the United States, the European Union and Oceania.[38] McFarlane Toys also released a Grifball action figure.

Rooster Teeth created a spinoff machinima miniseries of Red vs. Blue based on Grifball, titled Grifball: Expansion, which follows an untalented Grifball team. It was distributed via Halo Waypoint and ran for three episodes. A follow-up miniseries, titled Grifball: Zero Tolerance was released a short time later and also ran for three episodes.

The Rooster Teeth Podcast[edit | edit source]

On December 9, 2008, after temporarily reviving a feature on their website from their previous website,, where the staff talked about different topics of the week while inebriated with accompanying responses in text with pictures, Rooster Teeth released their first audio podcast available for download through the iTunes Store, Zune Marketplace and their website. It has since become one of the more popular features of the site, at one point becoming the #1 most downloaded podcast on iTunes, as well as a featured podcast in the iTunes Store. New episodes have been released regularly every Wednesday since April 10, 2009, with occasional special episodes or multiple releases in one week. On June 23, 2010, the podcast changed to a .m4a "enhanced" format which allows listeners to use an interactive "link dump" to be able to view more information on the topics of the week's podcast. On August 18, 2010, the Drunk Tank was officially implemented into the Rooster Teeth website as a video series, as well as introducing the segment called Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures.

Since its inception, the podcast has usually featured three or four of the Rooster Teeth staff members as well as the occasional guest such as their musical composer Nico Audy-Rowland or friends or family of the staff members. The main staff members of the podcast include Burnie Burns and Gus Sorola with heavy recurring roles from Jack Pattillo, Gavin Free, and Barbara Dunkelman. The podcast is thus largely comedic commentary on the popular culture of the week, including video games, recent news, website features, sports and upcoming projects as well as highlighting fan-made projects.

The name was later changed to "The Rooster Teeth Podcast" because Rooster Teeth felt they could find sponsors better if their Podcast didn't contain the word "drunk" in it.

Canceled products[edit | edit source]

Red vs. Blue: Animated[edit | edit source]

Red vs. Blue: Animated was an upcoming joint-production between Rooster Teeth and animation studio Humoring the Fates. Since the sneak preview at PAX 2008, little information was risen about the project. The little plot that was revealed sees Church, Simmons and Grif attempting to battle through a Covenant base to free Sarge and Tex from imprisonment.

At PAX East 2010, it was strongly implied by the staff that production on Red vs. Blue: Animated has come to a halt, for reasons of time constraints and money issues. Geoff Ramsey commented, "We're just too lazy to work on it—we like our own schedule; we just can't work with someone else's timeframe."

According to the Rooster Teeth Panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, the project is dead and a lot of the ideas and aspects within Red vs. Blue: Animated have been cannibalized into the original machinima-based Red vs. Blue series through the addition of pre-rendered CGI.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The name Rooster Teeth is a euphemism for Cockbite, an insult used in one of the group's trailers.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Moltenbrey, Gross.
  2. Gross; Konow, 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Konow, 1.
  4. Mac Gamer Switch Parody.
  5. Konow, 2.
  6. The History of Red vs. Blue.
  7. Leggat
  8. Burns, et al., 2003, Audio Commentary, episode 2.
  9. Burns, et al., 2003, Audio Commentary, episode 4.
  10. Thompson, 1.
  11. Waters.
  12. Sorola.
  13. All New Red vs. Blue Series.
  14. Interview on Episode 61 of Jeskid's World
  15. Machinima Awards 2003 Results; Mackie Winners Announced!.
  16. Thompson, 2.
  17. Red vs. Blue: The Interview Strikes Back.
  18. Falo 3 Details Explosion.
  19. Kosak, 1–2; Thompson, 5.
  20. Williams.
  21. Saldaña.
  22. Burns, et al., 2006, Audio Commentary, Strangerhood Studios episode 6.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Machinima Theater.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Mackie Winners Announced!.
  26. Gersh.
  27. "Red Vs. Blue: The Cash Is Always Greener".
  28. Hullum, "Working Vacation".
  29. Hullum, "Ahh... Memories".
  30. 30.0 30.1 Chappell.
  31. Robinson.
  34. Burnie, Jeskid TV interview.
  35. Geoff;
  37. Bungie Weekly Update, November 20, 2009

External links[edit | edit source]

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