AUSTIN, Texas—I’ll admit it: I’d never heard of Rooster Teeth before moving to Austin. But the Texas-based animation/podcasting/game streaming media company has been around for 15 years now, and it boasts some of the longest-running Web series around (including the Halo-inspired machinima series Red v. Blue).
I’m an odd case if judging by the crowds at the 2018 RTX Austin festival last weekend. The event started in 2011, and by year two, the festival had 4,000 attendees enjoying perks like the exclusive hands-on premiere of Halo 4. In contrast, 62,000 descended upon the Austin Convention Center in 2017, and the costumed crowds certainly felt as big this go-round. Accordingly, animation studios from Titmouse (Venture Bros. and Big Mouth, among others) to Netflix (here premiering Brickleberry) hung out, one of the 12 inaugural Overwatch League squads took over the exhibition hall (by inviting folks to volunteer and get pwned), and non-stop panels helped interested con-goers find advice on writing for animation or learn what’s happening behind the scenes on their favorite Web series (perhaps like popular Rooster Teeth anime, RWBY).
All of this will only get bigger from here. Rooster Teeth now has its own streaming service, called First, in addition to all the stuff it already has living on the Internet. And as part of that offering, it recently announced a very high-profile partnership: with one Michael B. Jordan. The Black Pantheractor has his own production studio and wanted to partner with Rooster Teeth on a new anime series called gen:Lock. As Varietydescribed the sci-fi project this spring, “Earth’s last free society is on the losing side of a global war… Lead character Julian Chase joins the fight as the first pilot for the next generation of mecha: a class of giant, weaponized robots controlled by humans.” Naturally, Jordan himself will voice the lead role.
The surprise partnership caused Texas Monthly to declare the future of Texas film will be animated, something that would certainly bode well for Rooster Teeth. And if the company’s profile is only expected to grow from here, it may need a bigger convention center for the next edition of the biggest annual gaming and Internet conference I’d never heard of.