Rooster Teeth

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Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC
Subsidiary
Industry Entertainment
Founded April 1, 2003
Founders Burnie Burns
Matt Hullum
Geoff Ramsey
Gus Sorola
Joel Heyman
Headquarters Stage 5 and Bungalow A, Austin, Texas, United States
Number of locations
3 (2016)
Key people
Matt Hullum (CEO)
Burnie Burns (CCO)
Yvonne Secretan (COO)
Number of employees
197 (April 2016)[1]
Parent Independent (2003–2014)
Fullscreen[2] (2014–present)
Divisions Achievement Hunter
Funhaus
The Know
ScrewAttack
Website www.roosterteeth.com

Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC., more commonly referred to as just Rooster Teeth, is an American production company located in Austin, Texas; Flower Mound, Texas; and Los Angeles, California, that started with the production of its long-running series Red vs. Blue, later branching out into live action shorts and series, comedy gameplay with the branch Achievement Hunter, and full animated productions such as RWBY. Rooster Teeth hosts its convention, RTX, annually in Austin, Texas and most recently Australia.

Rooster Teeth was founded by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Gus Sorola, and Joel Heyman in 2003. Burns created voice-over-enhanced gameplay videos of Bungie Studios' popular first-person shooter video game Halo. Eventually, these videos led to the creation of Red vs. Blue, which premiered in April 2003 and is still in production, making it the longest-running web series of all time. The production team also focuses on projects such as reality shows, video game development, entertainment news programs and podcasts. Rooster Teeth released its feature film debut, Lazer Team, a science fiction action comedy film in 2016.

The company's videos are released on its website and YouTube, on which it maintains over 8.7 million subscribers and over 4.3 billion video views on its primary channel, as of April 2016.[3] Between all of their other channels, they maintain over 27 million subscribers.

Company history[edit]

Rooster Teeth's office on Congress Street in Austin in 2008.

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.[4] The film helped Hullum and Heyman to find work in Los Angeles, California, but otherwise had limited success.[5] Working for a local company named Telenetwork, Burns later met Geoff Ramsey (then named Geoff Fink), Gustavo Sorola, Dan Godwin, and Jason Saldaña, and the five formed drunkgamers.com, a website where the five reviewed various video games while drunk.[6] According to Ramsey, the group tried to receive free games to review, but "incurred the wrath" of several game developers in doing so.[7]

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 Peter Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as background music, and focused on the lack of games available for the Apple Macintosh computer.[8] Sorola and Burns said that the name change from 'Drunk Tank Podcast' to 'Rooster Teeth Podcast' was for the same reason that 'Drunk Gamers' was changed to 'Rooster Teeth'. They explained that they realized nobody would give games or sponsor something with 'drunk' in the title "because it was so unprofessional."[9] On settling on Rooster Teeth, Burns stated, "We named it something else to give people the idea that we were going to be doing more than that".[10] The name "Rooster Teeth" is a euphemism for "cockbite", an insult from the original Red vs. Blue trailer that Burns described as a "touchstone for the audience".[11][12]

Among the company's core philosophies, Burns stated, "we only make content that we would want to see... it comes from a very genuine space. I think that our audience appreciates that voice".[10]

Rooster Teeth has attributed their success to maintaining their own community site and was reluctant to join YouTube initially, stating they viewed them as a "competitor".[13] In 2014, having signed a two-year lease, the entire company (now consisting of over 90 employees) moved into Stage 5 at Austin Studios.[14] The company released their feature film debut in 2015 with Lazer Team, a science fiction comedy. In November 2014, Rooster Teeth was acquired by Fullscreen for an undisclosed amount.[15] Rooster Teeth agreed to be bought to give itself "the resources and tools" needed to compete against other producers. Burns elaborated by saying they consider Netflix, HBO and Amazon their current competition.[13] On February 3, 2015, Burns confirmed that Rooster Teeth would be establishing an office in Los Angeles.[16]

In 2016, Rooster Teeth hired three content executives to help with audience expansion: Luis Medina as Senior VP of Partnerships, Evan Bregman as Director of Programming and Ryan P. Hall as Head of Development.[17] Medina will co-manage the Let’s Play family with Ramsey, including Achievement Hunter, Funhaus and ScrewAttack and manage partnerships with third-party brands such as Cow Chop, the Creatures and Kinda Funny. Bregman will be responsible for programming strategy and boosting growth across all platforms such as apps, the community site, YouTube and Facebook. [18] Hall will oversee Rooster Teeth’s development slate and lead efforts to identify up-and-coming projects and talent.

Live-action production[edit]

Rooster Teeth Shorts[edit]

Rooster Teeth first ventured into live-action in 2009 with Captain Dynamic, a mini-series to promote the online game City of Heroes.[19] It was based around a team of writers hired to use the new in-game content creation tools to promote the title character, Captain Dynamic, the 'worst superhero in the world'. Directed by Matt Hullum and written by Burnie Burns, the series starred Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, who is a long time friend and fan of Rooster Teeth. A number of Rooster Teeth employees were present throughout the series, notably Joel Heyman as Captain Dynamic's primary writer. Actor Shannon McCormick appears as the series' antagonist, Great Face.[20] The series also led to the release of an iPhone app called the Awesome Button.[21]

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 Captain Dynamic 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[22] 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 until the second season's conclusion with its twenty-fourth episode and DVD release in early December. Season 3's DVD can be purchased at a discount when bundled with Season 9 of Red vs. Blue. Shortly before season two's conclusion, Rooster Teeth collaborated with the team behind Mega64, a video game centered comedy series. Together they produced four Rooster Teeth Shorts episodes, which were released on the Rooster Teeth website as the beginning of season three.

Halfway through season four, Burns announced the cancellation of Rooster Teeth Shorts in favor of several new series. However, on April 1, 2013 Rooster Teeth announced Rooster Teeth Shorts would return with a fifth season, on the same day, the season premiere episode Reunion was released and marked the tenth anniversary of the company.

On August 22, 2013, Rooster Teeth released six, six-second mini episodes exclusively through the video sharing service Vine. Six more were released on September 13, 2013. The third set was released on October 11, 2013 followed by a fourth set on November 8, 2013.

Immersion[edit]

Immersion is a series in which Burnie Burns and Gus Sorola (Griffon Ramsey in the first season) test the concepts of video games in real life, such as whether the heckling that sometimes occurs in multiplayer video games would negatively affect the performance of real soldiers. Burns joked in the Rooster Teeth podcast that the series started as an "elaborate way for [them] to do fun stuff and get paid for it".[23] Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola were the test subjects throughout the first season. Gavin Free and Michael Jones (of Achievement Hunter) served as the test subjects for the second season.

During PAX East in late March 2010, Rooster Teeth released a teaser trailer for a series with a pilot episode that tested how easy it would be to drive a car from a third-person perspective. Nothing was mentioned of Immersion until October 2010, when Burnie Burns stated during the company's podcast, The Rooster Teeth Podcast, that production had begun on further episodes.

Soon after, on November 23, 2010, the company released pictures on Reddit of a door in their office turned into a safe-room door from the video game Left 4 Dead in an effort to build hype for the series' debut the following day. The post became the most popular post of the day on Reddit.[24][25] Rooster Teeth re-released a tweaked pilot episode the following day to begin the weekly series, which concluded with its seventh episode on January 5, 2011.

A new episode of Immersion premiered on June 17, 2011, after five months on hiatus. The episode's filming took place on May 29, 2011, during Rooster Teeth's convention, RTX, as well as 400 participants dressed as zombies. The episode shows Geoff Ramsey and Gus Sorola defending themselves from a horde of zombies.[26]

On June 17 Burns stated, in a panel at Supanova Sydney, that they would be producing a second season, and they just needed to come up with concepts. They also confirmed that Gavin Free and Michael Jones of Achievement Hunter would be joining the cast in the second season, replacing Sorola and Ramsey as the test subjects. In the Rooster Teeth Podcast, it was confirmed that the second season began production in 2013. Burns stated on an episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast that several television stations are interested in picking up the series for its second season. On the RT Recap: Immersion Set, it seen that Rooster Teeth was recording an episode of the series.

During RTX 2015, Burns announced that there would be a third season of Immersion. The third season premiered in November 2015.

The Slow Mo Guys[edit]

Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy, hosts of The Slow Mo Guys
Main article: The Slow Mo Guys

The Slow Mo Guys is a live action series created by Rooster Teeth's Gavin Free. The series premiered on November 3, 2010, and features Free and co-star Daniel Gruchy filming various and often comical stunts in extreme slow motion using Phantom brand digital high-speed cameras.[27] The series was initially created to help Free gain acceptable accreditation towards US residency and join the Rooster Teeth crew full time. Free confirmed that the series had been picked up by Rooster Teeth on February 20, 2013, and that further episodes of the series would be released on Rooster Teeth's website as well as the series' existing YouTube channel.

Day 5[edit]

Shooting of a scene in Day 5 in downtown Austin during RTX 2012.

At RTX 2012, 1,800 fans were used as extras for a scene in post-apocalypse short series called Day 5, which initially followed a man fighting to stay awake after a virus spreads that causes anyone who falls asleep to die.[28] The trailer premiered at RTX 2014.[29] While the premise was kept the same, the overall story and characters were later changed drastically. In March 2016, the cast were announced, with filming starting that same month.[30] The first episode premiered on June 19, 2016 on both Rooster Teeth's website and YouTube, though the rest of the series was released exclusively on Rooster Teeth's website for FIRST members, making it the company's first premium exclusive show.[31] It's first season concluded on July 31, 2016. Showrunner Josh Flanagan held a Reddit AMA the following day, answering many fan questions about the show. While a second season has not been officially confirmed by Rooster Teeth, Flanagan has spoken of multiple seasons being part of the plan.[32]

Million Dollars, But...[edit]

Million Dollars, But... is an ongoing series in which Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, and one other Rooster Teeth employee or special guest each come up with a typically difficult scenario; for example, one where the person has to date Adolf Hitler for a year — which the cast comically re-enact — for which they will be given a million dollars. The pilot episode premiered on May 21, 2015, with the series continuing on July 9, 2015, and as of May 2016, Million Dollars, But has developed a card game that had a very successful Kickstarter, reaching their goal of $10,000 USD within 2 minutes. The card game will be released in mid June.

Lazer Team[edit]

Main article: Lazer Team

In February 2014, Burns confirmed that the company was going to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a feature film, as a way to offer more support options while gaining publicity.[33] In June 2014, an Indiegogo campaign for Lazer Team was launched. The fundraiser hit its $650,000 target within 11 hours and reached over $1.6 million two days later. The film was due for release in 2015. As of July 24, 2015, Lazer Team is the second most funded film project on Indiegogo, raising just under $2.5 million.[34][35]

Production for Lazer Team began on October 9, 2014.[36] On February 21, 2015 the first official teaser trailer was released, and on March 16, 2015 the full trailer was released.[37] The film premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 24, 2015, where it received a generally positive reception.[38][39][40] It was released in theaters on January 27, 2016.[41]

RT-ES[edit]

Colton Dunn, host of RT-ES

On September 27, 2015, a sketch comedy show RT-ES, or Rooster Teeth Entertainment System, premiered for sponsors on roosterteeth.com.[42] The show is produced in Los Angeles, California and is hosted and created by Colton Dunn. The show consists of Dunn giving interviews, talking about relevant topics, and showing many sketches throughout: it centers around comedy, music, and games.

In a Sponsor-Only video, Burnie Burns stated that RT-ES would be put on hiatus. Burns began by saying "occasionally we make some missteps", referring to RT-ES. He elaborated by saying Rooster Teeth would be looking at all the audience feedback and apply it to the show in the future.

The Gauntlet[edit]

On Halloween 2012, a partnership between Rooster Teeth and Blip was announced, with the premiere of their new 10-episode, reality game competition series sponsored by GEICO.[43] The Gauntlet followed gamers from around the United States competing in contests of skills, concentration, agility and stamina, inspired by reality competitions Wipeout and The Voice. The first season was hosted by Ali Baker and Burnie Burns. Season two was hosted by Burns and Joel Heyman and began on September 7, 2013.

A Simple Walk into Mordor[edit]

A Simple Walk into Mordor was created to celebrate the release of The Hobbit in December 2012. Rooster Teeth employees Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais walked from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand to the filming location of Mount Doom, at Mount Ngauruhoe. In the Lord of the Rings movie and book series, Frodo and Sam made the trip in six months. Chris and Kerry, with New Zealand guide Nick, were able to replicate the journey in six days. The participants "wanted to do something that no one had ever done before"; in homage to the movie, they had hoped to drop a replica of the One Ring into the mountain. The adventure was ended after more than 120 miles, and the ring buried about 1/3 of the way up the mountain; fans were challenged to go and find the ring.

A Simple Walk into Mordor was solely broadcast on the internet and premiered on December 8, 2012. The series consists of 5 episodes running from 6 to 12 minutes long and can be found on YouTube and Blip. The complete series was released on DVD and Blu-ray in September 2013.

On the Spot[edit]

On the Spot logo

On the Spot is the name of the Rooster Teeth game show that involves members of the Rooster Teeth cast and crew giving impromptu answers to unusual questions. There are several common games that the members play. Rooster Teeth teams are split into two teams of two people which compete for a trophy that resembles Gustavo Sorola. On the Spot is hosted by Jon Risinger. A frequent theme of the show is chaotic humor; contestants will frequently attempt to annoy and antagonize Risinger, and points are assigned arbitrarily and inconsistently based on the whim of the host.[44]

Others[edit]

In 2014 a bi-weekly series premiered called Happy Hour. The series chronicles the drunken adventures of Geoff Ramsey, Gavin Free, and Griffon Ramsey.

Created to test elaborate social experiments, Social Disorder follows Chris Demarais and Aaron Marquis as they compete for points like a game show. The first episode, The Body Bag Experiment, debuted on September 13, 2014 in which Demarais and Marquis had to drag each other around in a body bag trying to get bystanders to help them out. Points were awarded for making up reasons as to what was in the bag or why they were dragging the bag in the first place.[45]

Animated production[edit]

Red vs. Blue[edit]

Main article: Red vs. Blue
A scene from Red vs. Blue season 4, made using the Halo 2 engine

In a parody of science fiction films and games[46] and of military life,[47] Red vs. Blue tells the story of two groups of soldiers fighting a civil war in a desolate and isolated box canyon. Initially, Rooster Teeth expected the series to consist of only six to eight episodes.[48] However, the series became popular quickly, receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day.[49] Accordingly, Burns conceived an extension of the plot.[50] The series' fifth season, which served as the conclusion of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, officially ended with episode 100, released on June 28, 2007.[51] Since then, the series has continued to release new material, including eight additional complete seasons and numerous PSAs. It is currently airing it's fourteenth season.

RWBY[edit]

Main article: RWBY

RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an anime-styled CG-animated web-series that was created and directed by animator Monty Oum, and written by Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross. 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.[52][53][54] The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with supernatural forces and shadowy creatures known as the "Creatures of Grimm". Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. On February 1, 2015, Oum died due to a severe allergic reaction during a medical procedure, but the series he created continues.[55]

Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures[edit]

RTAA title card

In July 2010, Jordan Cwierz released the first Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures (RTAA) episode (then known as Drunk Tank Animated Adventures), featuring animations depicting stories told on the Rooster Teeth Podcast. In October 2011, Cwierz was officially hired to produce the animated shorts full-time as a feature of the podcast.[56]

Let's Play Minimations[edit]

On October 8, 2014, Rooster Teeth debuted Let's Play Minimations. It features highlights from Achievement Hunter's Let's Plays, initially using 3D animation that resembles the sandbox game, Minecraft and later machinimated using Grand Theft Auto V.[57]

X-Ray and Vav[edit]

Lindsay Jones and Jordan Cwierz, directors of X-Ray and Vav

At RTX 2014, a new animated show called X-Ray and Vav was announced, starring Ray Narvaez, Jr. as X-Ray and Gavin Free as Vav. The show is directed by Lindsay Jones (who also voices Hilda) and Jordan Cwierz, with art direction by Patrick Rodriguez. The first episode was released on November 27, 2014.[58] The second season premiered on July 19, 2015. Narvaez and Free reprised their roles as the show's titular heroes, with the addition of Michael Jones as the anti-hero Mogar, and Jessica DiCicco as news reporter Ash Samaya.[59] There are currently no plans for a third season, and the show has not been referenced since it's conclusion by Rooster Teeth. When asked by a fan if he would return for a third season if asked, Narvaez stated he wouldn't and that he was happy with how it ended.

Camp Camp[edit]

On April 1, 2016, Rooster Teeth announced Camp Camp with a trailer that aired on their website and YouTube. The series premiered on June 10, 2016 as part of Rooster Teeth's Summer of Animation promotion.[60] It focuses on a young boy named Max forced to go to summer camp while making two friends who help him constantly torment their camp counselor, David. It airs on Fridays for sponsors and Saturdays for site members. The show was created by Jordan Cwierz and Miles Luna. The first season was extended by two episodes due to positive reception.

Others[edit]

In 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. The game's publisher Electronic Arts allowed them to continue with the project.[61] 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.[62] Its first season of 17 episodes completed on April 27, 2006.[63] In 2005, the group collaborated with Paul Marino[64] on Strangerhood Studios, a spin-off commissioned by the Independent Film Channel.[65] This spin-off was the first machinima series to be commissioned for broadcast[65] and won an award for Best Editing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[66] The second season premiered on September 29, 2015, after the stretch goal was reached for Lazer Team's indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

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.[65] The four publicly released episodes were released between September 27, 2005 and October 18, 2005,[67] and a prequel was released with F.E.A.R. - Director's Edition.[68] The mini-series won an award for Best Writing at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival.[66] 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.

Commercial work[edit]

A screenshot from Apology, an advertisement that Electronic Arts commissioned from Rooster Teeth

In mid-2006, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to direct[69] commercials for their EA Sports brand of games, including Madden NFL 2007 and NCAA Football 2007, for broadcast on television.[70] Rooster Teeth released some of this work on their website.[71] 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.[72] 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."[72] In response, Rooster Teeth posted a director's cut, in which Clark plays and dominates every position.[73]

They have also made a trailer for a free to play PC game called Loadout, developed by Austin-based Edge of Reality.

RTX[edit]

Main article: RTX (event)

In May 2011, Rooster Teeth held their first official community event in Austin, Texas. Initially planned as a small gathering for 200 people,[74] demand was so high that over 500 tickets were accidentally sold within minutes of being made available online.[75] Since RTX 2012, each event has been held in the Austin Convention Center, with the attendance growing from 5,000 in 2012 to 45,000 in 2015.[citation needed] In June 2015, Rooster Teeth announced RTX Australia, a collaboration with Hanabee and Supanova Pop Culture Expo.[76]

Divisions[edit]

Achievement Hunter[edit]

Main article: Achievement Hunter

Achievement Hunter is a video gaming website and division of Rooster Teeth Productions created by Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo. The website is largely based on the achievement mechanic found in seventh generation video game consoles after being made popular with Microsoft's release of the Xbox 360. The website was launched in 2008 along with Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel. Achievement Hunter has since gone on to become a core component of Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel and hosts additional YouTube videos on the channels Achievement Hunter, GameFails, Let's Play, and Achievement Hunter Community.

Funhaus[edit]

The cast of Funhaus at PAX Prime 2015.

Funhaus (pronounced "Fun-House") is a division of Rooster Teeth Productions. Hosted by the former cast of Inside Gaming (Adam Kovic, James Willems, Bruce Greene, Lawrence Sonntag, Matt Peake, and formerly Sean "Spoole" Poole and Joel Rubin), former GameTrailers host Elyse Willems and Omar De Armas, the channel produces gameplay videos in a similar manner to Achievement Hunter. In addition to gameplay, Funhaus also produces segments for The Know. Funhaus is based in the Los Angeles, California offices of Rooster Teeth Productions. The channel officially launched on February 16, 2015. Funhaus produces many shows such as Open Haus (Q&A), a podcast called Dude Soup, and gameplay series such as Demo Disk and Wheelhaus.[77]

On February 9, 2016, Sean Poole announced his departure from Funhaus to return to his hometown.[78]

On April 5, 2016, Joel Rubin announced his departure from Funhaus. Joel is now working at SourceFed as Director of Programming.[79][80]

Game Kids[edit]

Game Kids is a division of Rooster Teeth Productions aimed at creating kid and family friendly content. The channel launched on December 1, 2014 and features the ongoing series "Sim Sisters" featuring Millie Ramsey, the daughter of Geoff Ramsey, and her nanny Chelsea playing Sims together, "Kids Play" featuring Matt Hullum and his children Webb and Mills or Burnie Burns and his children JD and Teddy, appearing on alternating weeks playing various games, and "Bro Gaming" featuring Rooster Teeth employee Caleb Denecour and his younger brother Jordan playing various cooperative games including an ongoing series in Minecraft and Disney Infinity 2.0.

The Know[edit]

The Know is the news division of Rooster Teeth that discusses current events in movies, TV shows, gaming, and media. It is hosted by Ashley Jenkins, and a selection of other Rooster Teeth staff from each division within the company.

ScrewAttack[edit]

Main article: ScrewAttack

On November 4, 2015 it was announced that fellow Fullscreen subsidiary ScrewAttack would become part of Rooster Teeth and the Let's Play Family.[81]

Let's Play Network[edit]

Rooster Teeth's "Let's Play" branch has announced some partnerships with other channels, in addition to its own Achievement Hunter, Funhaus and ScrewAttack. On March 28, 2016, a partnership with Kinda Funny was announced. Members of the group appear in Rooster Teeth content, and Kinda Funny merchandise is available on the Rooster Teeth Store. Kinda Funny LIVE! was presented by Let's Play and hosted by Burns.[82] A partnership with The Creatures was announced on April 4, 2016.[83] CowChop was also confirmed to be part of Let's Play.[84]

Video games[edit]

Grifball[edit]

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.[85] 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 first tournament was primarily composed of community members and included crew members Audy-Rowland, Burns, Free, McKay, Ramsey and Sorola on separate teams. 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,[86] and adding Grifball courts with identical specifications to the original into other maps. In February 2011, Bungie added Grifball to the matchmaking community playlist in Halo: Reach, as a permanently available gametype.[87] Grifball is now also a built-in gametype in Halo 4. Rooster Teeth has organized their own official Grifball leagues, covering the United States, the European Union and Oceania.[88] McFarlane Toys also released a Grifball action figure. Rooster Teeth created a machinima series based on Grifball, and a spin-off of Red vs. Blue, titled Grifball. The first season, titled Grifball: Expansion follows an untalented Grifball team, and was distributed via Halo Waypoint and ran for three episodes. There were three follow-up seasons titled Grifball: Zero Tolerance, Grifball: Franchise Player, and Grifball: Double Agent, each of which also ran for three episodes.

Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens[edit]

Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens is a game made by Team Chaos that features some of the main Rooster Teeth personnel in their fight against zombies in the Rooster Teeth office and parking lot. It is currently available on the iOS store, Google Play store and Steam.[89]

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse[edit]

Main article: RWBY: Grimm Eclipse

At RTX 2014, Rooster Teeth announced during the RWBY panel on July 4 that a RWBY video game was in development, under the working title RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, making this the first video game ever created by the company. An early demo of the game was available for consumers to play at the event. Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum stated, "RWBY is a natural choice for us to focus on for our first in-house produced video game. Fans can expect that we will bring the same level of originality in action, comedy and design to the video game that has made the RWBY animated series such a hit."[90][91]

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse was initially developed as a fangame by Jordan Scott over the course of five months. A demo version was released on April 1, 2014, to celebrate Rooster Teeth's 11th anniversary, but the demo is no longer available for download. Scott stated at the time that it was not an ongoing project, and he had no plans for any future updates. He described it as a "survival-based action RPG" set in the world of RWBY.[92]

On December 1, 2015 the game was released as an Early Access title on Steam after rapidly being approved through Steam's Greenlight feature.[93]

Podcasts[edit]

Rooster Teeth Podcast[edit]

Main article: Rooster Teeth Podcast

On December 9, 2008, Rooster Teeth launched the Drunk Tank podcast, which was renamed the Rooster Teeth Podcast in 2011. The podcast is released weekly, and has won several honors, including being the most downloaded podcast on iTunes and winning the Best Gaming Podcast award at the Podcast Awards in 2013 and 2014.[94]

Other podcasts[edit]

On May 18, 2013, Sorola announced that Rooster Teeth would begin a second weekly podcast focusing on gaming due to their main podcast - which started as a gaming podcast - had become more of a comedy podcast.[95] Sorola stated "starting next week we will be kicking off a new gaming focused podcast. We realize that the Rooster Teeth Podcast doesn't talk about gaming too much so we're launching a brand new weekly podcast that focuses solely on games." The first episode of The Patch was released on May 21, 2013. On June 21, 2013 they also began producing special episodes of The Rooster Teeth Podcast titled The Rooster Teeth Spoilercast in which they discuss television shows, movies, and video games in full detail after they have been released. As a stretch goal for Lazer Team, Rooster Teeth also began producing Screen Play, a podcast that focuses on television and film.[citation needed]

On February 9, 2015, Rooster Teeth launched the Funhaus podcast, Dude Soup. The podcast stars the seven members of Funhaus, with occasional guest appearances from other Rooster Teeth employees. Dude Soup focuses on comedy, gaming news and game culture in general. Funhaus also hosts a FAQ Podcast.[96]

On October 30, 2015, the Achievement Hunter-specific weekly podcast ''Off Topic'' premiered for sponsors only on the Rooster Teeth website. The first four episodes, regarded as "test episodes," are only available to sponsors. All following episodes are available to the general public on YouTube and iTunes. The podcast does not focus on any one topic, but bounces around from television to video games to stories from the life of the Achievement Hunter members, which includes the entire AH team, and not just the "core 6" members. The podcast is hosted and produced by Michael Jones.[97]

Community and website[edit]

“I think the biggest place we’ve had to adapt is, we’ve always believed we have to have our own corner on the web, that we don’t try to build our own company on Facebook or on MySpace back in the day, or even on Twitter or Snapchat. We try to have RoosterTeeth.com be our destination.” - Burnie Burns, July 8, 2016 [10]

On October 4, 2004, after closing their phpBB forums, Rooster Teeth publicly launched an online community and social networking website as a way to stay in touch with fans while maintaining their own platform for distribution.[98][99] This site included features such as community statistics, journals, an image gallery and a "mod point system" or "emodomy" that was meant to help members moderate the site with options to like or dislike posts.[100] The cost from server fees prompted Rooster Teeth to implement a sitewide program called "Sponsorships" in 2003, which gave paying members access to content before being offered to the public, in addition to extra site features, exclusive videos and merchandise. Sponsorships have been credited with "keeping the lights on" in the company's early years and a "major reason" for Rooster Teeth's growth and the first way that they monetized content.[101][102][103] Currently, it is home to over 1.7 million registered users of which 135,000 pay $5 per month as Sponsors.[104][105]

On July 1, 2016 the ad-free "Sponsorship" program was rebranded as “FIRST” and offered a new option to upgrade to an even higher-level tier called Double Gold that included such perks as: a 10% discount on all Rooster Teeth items, first access to live event VIP passes and a box of merchandise carrying a value more than $60.[106]

Rooster Teeth's founders often emphasize the importance of the community and how it has helped them to remain relevant in web culture.[101] In 2010, Burnie Burns stated he, "could not imagine RedVsBlue or Rooster Teeth without the community site."[98] In 2014 Gus Sorola stated, "From the beginning we have always maintained and promoted our own community site, since before YouTube even existed". Building community is key to having an engaged, active audience who really enjoy your content."[107] Burns expanded on this in September 2014, attributing how they've managed to build a global audience to constantly engaging in a two-way conversation with the company's "hyper engaged core".[108] In 2016, Burns reiterated their growth again to listening and taking the community's feedback to heart.[103] Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, after acquiring Rooster Teeth, cited the "insanely powerful community" as a reason they felt the company was a perfect match to buy and later attributed Lazer Team’s success to the power of the community.[109][110] In 2015, during the production of Rooster Teeth’s first feature, co-founder and Director Matt Hullum stated, “We would not have been able to make Lazer Team without the community and really I don’t think we would’ve wanted to.”[111]

Community members have distinguished themselves on and beyond the website. Notable people to come from the community include Gavin Free, Barbara Dunkelman, and Kent Nichols.[112] In October 2008, community member "Jeffson" became the first person to post that Barack Obama's presidential campaign had taken out billboards within the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise. After being posted to his journal, the story was picked up by major news outlets, including GamePolitics, MTV and Wired.[113][114][115] In 2010, Achievement Hunter community members "AxialMatt" and "Hightower" garnered attention with their Japan World Cup 3 video.[116][117] For Red vs. Blue: Revelation, Rooster Teeth used 10 community members to help unlock Halo 3 armor suits for machinima production purposes.[118] In February 2011, Burns tweeted that community member "madmanmoe" discovered the Rooster Teeth website was not blocked by the Libyan government and was blogging events on the website from Tripoli during the Libyan Civil War.[119] The longest-running external resource site, RoosterTooths, has existed since 2005 and contains transcripts, biographies, and a history of the Red vs. Blue title screen.[120]

Community members have been utilized for RT productions at every single RTX. In 2011, some 400 community members were used as zombie extras for a Horde Mode episode of Immersion. In 2012, 1,800 attendees were used as extras for a scene in the upcoming RT production, Day 5, which involved shutting down the main road in downtown Austin.[121] In 2013, hundreds of fans were used as extras for a water-bomb attack in an episode of The Slow Mo Guys.[122] In 2014, casting calls and auditions for minor speaking roles in Lazer Team were held for attendees.[123] In 2015, attendees were invited to participate in an interactive, "narrative-driven experience" called Murder at The RTX which involved hunting clues at prepared "crime scenes".[124] On June 20, 2016 Rooster Teeth confirmed they would be filming audience members at an RTX panel for use in their latest production, Crunch Time.[125]

Many employees have been culled through the community. In 2014, Burns estimated "at least a third" of the company of 85 started in the fan community, adding it "keeps us grounded" and "makes a whole lot of sense from a business standpoint... I don't have to explain to them what this company is trying to do."[126] Ben McSweeney, illustrator of Rooster Teeth's logo, was hired by Burns after being found on the site's community forums in April 2003.[100] Others include community manager Barbara Dunkelman, composers Nico Audy-Rowland and Jeff Williams of Trocadero, cartoonist Luke McKay, Achievement Hunters Caleb Denecour and Ray Narvaez, Jr., Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures creator Jordan Cwierz, and RWBY writer and director Kerry Shawcross.[127][128][129] In August 2014, former intern and current content Producer Blaine Gibson garnered media attention when he posted photos proposing to Disney Princesses at Walt Disney World.[130][131][132] In July 2014 it was announced at RTX that fan Jordan Scott would be making the RWBY video game after posting footage of a demo he had made to his YouTube page.[133] It was also announced during the RTX 2014 Achievement Hunter panel that Community Hunters Matthew "AxialMatt" Bragg and Jeremy "Jerem6401" Dooley would be joining AH as its newest employees.[134]

Community-run events have occurred regularly since 2005.[135][136] These included RvBTO in Toronto[137] (the first event, now retired and replaced with Toronto:Unconventional),[138] RvBCanWest in Vancouver,[139][140] RT Philly in Philadelphia,[141] RooTeeth in Melbourne,[142] and RTSideQuest in Austin.[143] In February 2011, Sorola announced the date for the first RTX, the company's first official fan event.[144]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  63. ^ Saldaña.
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References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]