By Bree Brouwer
This past weekend at RTX, the annual gaming and internet convention held by Rooster Teeth Productions in Austin, Texas, the online video company announced its expansion into game development by unveiling the in-house produced “RWBY” video game.
Based on Rooster Teeth’s anime web series, which won the IAWTV award for Best Animated Series, the multi-player, team-based game will bring players into the world of “RWBY” and allow them to fight opponents as the show’s characters Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang.
Currently titled “RWBY — Grim Eclipse,” the game spawned from the mind of 19-year-old Rooster Teeth community member Jordan Scott, who coded the game over five months and then showed the trailer to fellow members. Once Monty Oum, director of animation at Rooster Teeth, became aware of Scott’s work, he quickly hired the prodigy to work on making the full game.
“I’d get at least, like, 10 tweets a day saying, ‘Hey, Monty, have you seen this video?’” Oum says. “I sent a company-wide email: no one talk about this because we are going to hire this kid.”
Oum had a Skype conversation with Scott and asked him how he made the game, discovering the developer had a good head on his shoulders because he hadn’t revealed any of his product until it was ready.
“If you had to sit there and make something really cool and get really excited about it for five months, you get this itch to put a little bit out there,” the “RWBY” creator says. “That starts defeating the end project.”
“Much like when I was making ‘Haloid,’ I sat quiet for four months and made it. I sat quiet for five months and made ‘Dead Fantasy,’ and let the finished product speak for itself. I like that about [the ‘RWBY’ game]. It showed he had a good understanding of the production side of things, and so that was the first good sign that he was a very good fit for this production.”
Though RTX attendees were able to demo a beta of the game on the exhibition floor, no release date for the final version has been announced.
In addition to the upcoming video game, the “RWBY” brand is gaining even more traction worldwide.
“Warner Brothers Japan, who are in charge of so many anime titles in the East, want to take ‘RWBY’ and dub it in Japanese, sell it, and use it in titles,” says Oum. “This means that we’ll have connections with Japanese game companies, Japanese animation companies. This might result in original ‘RWBY’ animations done by Japanese animators, just for the sake of expanding the universe and giving a little bit of storytelling.”
Oum believes this is the perfect way to start exploring more areas of the “RWBY “ world that Rooster Teeth may not have had the chance to do before. “I’ve said in the past, ‘What if we did a season of ‘RWBY’ where we just animated it in like, 10 different animation cells just for fun?’ Well, that’ll happen without me having to lift a finger because there are so many people who have just identified with this and said, ‘This could be so many things beyond what it actually is.’”
Though Oum says the “RWBY” game is “a dream come true,” he’s excited to see where the brand goes, and rightly so. At the show’s panel at RTX, Rooster Teeth revealed new merchandise in the form of “RWBY” character plushies and a poster of the four voice actresses in evening gowns matching their character’s color. Additionally, Oum says he’s been in talks with some toy companies about producing action figures.
“I always underestimate how exponential the internet is,” says Oum. “[‘RWBY’] just got really big really fast, bigger and faster than I thought it would be.”
“I knew that ‘RWBY’ would resonate with people, because the mantra of our company is we make stuff we like because our fans are like us. We’re laying down tracks as the train’s barreling down on us.”
Monty Oum image by John Anderson, via Austin Chronicle