‘Red v. Blue’ creator Rooster Teeth shuts down after 21 years from Mashable

Rooster Teeth is shutting down, just one year after the production company celebrated its 20th anniversary with a rebrand. Owner Warner Bros. Discovery is now exploring exactly what Rooster Teeth’s death will look like, including selling off some of its divisions and IP.

Rooster Teeth’s General Manager Jordan Levin announced the production studio’s closure at a company meeting on Wednesday, as well as in a memo shared with press and staff.

“[I]t’s with a heavy heart I announce that Rooster Teeth is shutting down due to challenges facing digital media resulting from fundamental shifts in consumer behavior and monetization across platforms, advertising, and patronage,” Levin wrote.

“Rooster Teeth’s closure isn’t merely an end; it reflects broader business dynamics. Monetization shifts, platform algorithms, advertising challenges, and the ebb and flow of patronage — all these converging factors have led to many closures in the industry.”

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Not all of Rooster Teeth’s productions will immediately come to a halt. The Roost Podcast Network will continue to operate, though Warner Bros. Discovery is searching for a buyer to take the “growing asset” off its hands. The 19th and final season of Red vs. Blue is still planned for release later this year, with the series’ conclusion having been announced last July. We also might see at least a few more episodes of animated series Camp Camp, considering its fifth season only just began last Friday.

However, the fate of the vast majority of Rooster Teeth’s content is currently unclear, including YouTube channels The Slow Mo Guys and Funhaus.

“While we learn about updates on programming day by day, we will share our plans for shows, franchises, partnerships, and merch soon and share those updates with teams internally and with the community on RoosterTeeth.com,” said Levin.

The company will host a livestream on its website to discuss the closure on Thursday.

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Rooster Teeth’s death isn’t a surprise to fans

Rooster Teeth’s demise may be unpleasant news to longtime fans, but it isn’t a complete shock to most. Fans have long expressed concerns that it appeared to be on a decline — so much so that one of the r/roosterteeth subreddit’s official rules is “Do not come here to complain about how ‘RT is dead.'” Said rule has been temporarily suspended in light of Wednesday’s news.

The company seemed to be on a high in the early to mid 2010s. Expanding its workforce, Rooster Teeth launched the popular Achievement Hunter YouTube channel, crowdfunded $2.4 million to create a feature film, and brought its annual convention to Australia and the UK. The company was sold to Fullscreen in 2014 (though it’s now owned by Warner Bros. Discovery through subsequent acquisitions of its parent).

Sadly, the good times weren’t to last. By 2019, Rooster Teeth made the first significant staff cut in its history, laying off 13 percent of its 419 employees. That same year, Rooster Teeth was hit by the first of several significant controversies, including accusations from former employees of racism, homophobia, crunch culture, and a generally toxic workplace.

Combined with unpopular subscription service price hikes, the departure or reduced roles of established Rooster Teeth personalities, and the dissolution of beloved divisions such as Achievement Hunter, many fans felt that the company’s golden days were well and truly behind it.

Current and former employees have taken to social media to farewell the company, which helped build them as content creators.

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A former internet innovator

Founded in 2003 by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Jason Saldaña, Gus Sorola, and Joel Heyman, Rooster Teeth originally rose to prominence due to its Halo machinima web series Red vs. Blue. The series was considered highly innovative for its time, and helped to popularise the animation technique.

The company eventually became known for gaming videos such as reviews, guides, and Let’s Plays, before branching out into less game-oriented content. This included podcasts, live-action productions, and animated series such as RWBY and gen:LOCK. Rooster Teeth also tried its hand at developing its own games such as Vicious Cycle, though these failed to achieve the same popularity as the company’s gaming videos. 

Unfortunately, such ambitious growth is only sustainable for so long — and the past year has already been awful for tech and games companies.

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Rooster Teeth is just the latest fresh corpse on the growing pile of mass layoffs and company closures currently gutting the games industry. Last week both PlayStation and Electronic Arts announced that they would lay off hundreds of employees, as well as close select subsidiary studios. A running tally by Kotaku calculates that this year over 8,000 games industry workers had already been laid off by the end of February.

A note on Rooster Teeth’s official Twitter/X account states that it is no longer an active account, its last posts having been made in December last year. As of writing, its bio still reads: “20 years of fun and games, and we’re just getting started.”

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