10 Years of Red Vs Blue: The greatest machinima series. Of all time.

“Hey….You ever wonder why we’re here?”
Ten years ago that question was muttered on the roof of Blood Gulch Outpost 1(B) as two UNSC soldiers, Simmons and Grif, pondered their existence purpose in their little canyon. Little did they know the answer would prove to shatter their lives….sorta.

For the few, unfortunate of you that don’t know, Red Vs Blue is one of the first, longest running, and most popular web-series in existence (even pre-dating YouTube by two years). RvB mixes comedy with science fiction, military-life scenarios, psuedo-existentialism, a healthy dose of Schadenfreude and a dash of potty-humor (my personal favorite type of humor), all taking place in the universe created in the Halo series of video games from Bungie, and if you don’t know what Halo is by now…well, what the hell are you doing on a site called “Nerd-Base”?

At it’s start, RvB was just an idea by Bernie Burns bred from spicing up reviews of XBox games on his website by adding humorous voice-overs to Halo:Combat Evolved clips. In 2002, he posted the first “trailer” for RvB which proved to be incredibly popular, even getting picked up by Computer Gaming World magazine to be put on a disk released with an issue. This prompted him to develop a story-line and contact his cohorts Joel Heyman and Matt Hullum to do voice-work. Together they worked out some material and figured to make about 6 or so episodes, but after being confronted with the immense popularity of RvB, in 2007, they hit 100 episodes, ending its fifth season. Now, in 2012, they’re celebrating 10 years of RvB, and this past week, on November 5th, the day before the release of Halo 4, they posted their 200th episode, concluding Season 10.

One of my favorite episodes. Tucker’s advice to “Junior” is something every father should teach their sons at some point…..maybe in their late teens.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Rooster Teeth put out their first two Blu-Ray releases. The first of which being Red Vs Blue: Season 10, and perhaps more important, the RVBX: Ten Years of Red Vs Blue Box Set.  This 14 disc set has EVERYTHING. The entire series to date, all the PSAs, mini-series, interviews, ads, Grifball, and more. Everything RvB. All in glorious HD. Did I mention the series soundtrack was entirely remastered for this release? It sounds amazing and looks incredible. Even if you already own most of the series on DVD, you really must pick this up.

The RVBX collection cover

An open view of the RVBX Box Set

Lest you let yourself be dissuaded by what you may think of as just a funny little series utilizing the Halo gameplay engine instead of “real” animation, think again and read on.
After season 5 of RvB, the goofy antics in the Blood Gulch loony bin took a back seat in lieu of a slightly more edgy storyline involving a serious threat, the hardcore “Freelancers”, AI’s like Cortana from the Halo series, and a very important revelation about the lives of our “heroes”, the Reds & Blues, that ran from seasons 6-8 called The Recollection.  Season 8 also introduced a very important member to the RoosterTeeth animation crew, Monty Oum.

Monty Oum is the animator responsible for the Haloid animation which mixed Halo’s Master Chief and Metroid‘s Samus Aran in one of the most exciting action videos you will ever watch. This attracted the attention of Bernie and upon meeting at SDCC in 2009, they decided to work together. This partnership led to not only an increase in the quality of the animation from solely machinima to pre-rendered sequences not achievable using just the game engine, but as well, Monty brought his incredible fight choreography to the table starting in Season 8 including an amazing fight between Agent Texas and the “Blood Gulch Boys”.

The enhancements in mustache rendering technology are bangin!

With better animation, a good amount of backstory, and a relatively clear conscious, RoosterTeeth then embarked on their most ambitious story arc yet, “Project Freelancer”, for seasons 9 & 10. “Project Freelancer” jumps back and forth in time telling the back story and relative origins of the Freelancers, the AIs, the Meta, who was the main antagonist in “the Recollection”, and saw a lot of important character progression for pretty much everyone…save maybe Grif and Caboose. Season 10 also introduced a new voice actor to the mix, none other than Hollywood A-Lister, proto-Hobbit, and proud geek, Elijah Wood as the voice of the AI fragment, “Sigma”!

Elijah Wood as Sigma

Season 10 also includes some of the most intense action sequences in the entire series (and really, much of anywhere else save maybe the Crank movies and a few select John Woo films).

Summary: The Red Vs Blue series is amazing and it has run for 10 years with constantly increasing quality in animation, writing, and voice acting. The full series (to date) has just been released on blu-ray. Go buy it for yourself and/or as a X-Mas present for a loved or really liked one.

Carolina and Epsilon Church versus an army of robotic Tex clones. Did I mention the fight scenes in Season 10? Yeeeaaahh. It’s good. So good.

And now….TO THE FUTURE!!!

Yours truly (Chris) flanked by Monty and Matt from Rooster Teeth at NYCC ’12.

At NYCC, I met up with Matt & Monty at the Rooster Teeth booth and even though they were swamped with fans lining up for merch and autographs, they spared a few minutes to chat with me.
Among chatting about the then upcoming releases of Season 10 and the RVBX collection, I asked them about what they had lined up for the future and got some pretty exciting answers.

First up, RWBY. Easily the most exciting project on the list, RWBY, pronounced “ruby”, stands for Red, White, Black, and Yellow. Not much has been released regarding the plot, so thankfully I got the chance to speak to Monty who will be writing, directing, and animating it, and he said RWBY‘s story-line will involve Fairy-tale characters who come together at an academy where the main course is fighting evil. After watching the trailer for “Red”, I can only assume it must be “Red Riding Hood”, notice she’s fighting the “Big Bad Wolves”. This leaves me guessing about the other three, I can’t really sort out White and Black, but I’m thinking maybe “Goldilocks” for Yellow? Anyway, if all that doesn’t get you going, just check out the trailer:

Next we have The Gauntlet! The Gauntlet started on Nov. 1st, and is Rooster Teeth’s own special brand of reality based programming. A gamer’s version of Iron Chef, the Gauntlet pits gamers against one another in an elimination based contest where their sanity is tested as well as their video gaming skills. Episode 2 just aired last night. New episodes air on Thursday nights at Blip.tv.

As an addition to their already incredibly popular podcast, during its recording on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm Central (8:30 Eastern, 5:30 Pacific) the Rooster Teeth crew are now streaming a live video broadcast of the its recording for paid sponsors on their site. Don’t be put out by the term “paid” though, since it’s VERY cheap ($10/6mos, $20/year), you get to support these excellent folks, and you don’t just get to simply watch the team, but interact with them as well!  Sponsors also get access to a wealth of bonus content and features, including early access to new videos which is worth the cost in and of itself.

There’s also a team up with the Nerdist crew in the wings which they didn’t have much info about at the time, but it’s something to keep an eye out for. All in all, after 10 years, the team at Rooster Teeth seem to be running at full blast, creating tons of great new content while continuing the ever fun exploits of a little team of Red & Blue guys that have shot straight through to our hearts.

Loads O’ Links:
Buy the Red Vs Blue: Season 10 Blu-ray here.
Buy the RVBX box set here.
Subscribe to their YouTube channel and their podcast on iTunes.
Visit the Rooster Teeth website and keep an eye out for RWBY.
Watch The Gauntlet on Blip.tv on Thursday nights.

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