As many outlets reported, including last week’s show, Rooster Teeth’s animator Monty Oum passed away last week after complications with a medical procedure. It’s sad because he was extremely talented. He created videos like Haloid and Dead Fantasy, then got hired by Rooster Teeth to do some animation work on Red vs. Blue, which allowed him to create his own animated series named RWBY.
I think it was on Rooster Teeth’s post announcing what happened that it said to honor him “do something creative”, so I decided I’d write a post telling a story about Monty at PAX.
Before PAX I had watched his video called Haloid, which was an over the top brawl between Master Chief of Halo and Samus Aran of Metroid, so you can see where the name came from. I remember watching it thinking it was pretty cool and impressive that someone made their own models to make the video, although I wasn’t a fan of the strange dance number ending the video had. A little bizarre there.
Someone linked me his next video called Dead Fantasy which featured the girls from Final Fantasy X-2 fighting some girls from Dead or Alive. I knew it was the same guy because the style was the same, a big over the top brawl of game characters in a crazy “What if?” universe. But then we fast forward to 2010, to the first PAX East in Boston.
The Rooster Teeth panel was packed, as expected, but my friends and I managed to get into the middle of the theater in good view of the Rooster Teeth guys and the screens for their presentation. After the debut of their pet project, Immersion, they showed off the first episode of the newest season (at the time) of Red vs. Blue. We were hyped to see the next season before everybody else, and the audience lost their minds about halfway through the episode.
At one point the game broke away from the in-game Xbox 360 engine Red vs. Blue was animated in and had much more fluid and realistic animation, looking like a CGI movie instead of guys positioning their Halo 3 characters next to each other and saying their lines. A character punched through a wall, then kicked a warthog toward our heroes and juggled them off the wall like it was Tekken. The style looked familiar, and when the episode finished they said what many had suspected: they introduced their newest member of the team, Monty Oum.
The crowd went crazy, many of them huge fans of Haloid and Dead Fantasy. He had animated the craziness at the end of the episode and they were excited to show it all off at PAX East, telling everyone they already had lots of plans in store for the upcoming seasons. With Monty’s help, they were able to do so much more than the Xbox 360 could ever let them do. It evolved the show from machinima to a full on sci-fi show. Still machinima, but you get what I’m saying.
After that panel Monty was a new celebrity walking around the convention, and when we next saw him he had a near harem of hot girls walking around with him (seriously, we saw him with three girls under his arms). Haloid, Dead Fantasy, and Red vs. Blue fans rejoiced, because it was a collaboration that could only end in good things.
And it did really. I followed Red vs. Blue enough to know what was going on up until that season, but it continued to be successful and Monty’s talents had a huge part in that. Eventually when Monty made RWBY that also became a big hit, and continues to be. I admit I haven’t watched any of it because it isn’t my cup of tea, but it seems like something Monty had always wanted to do and finally had the resources to make it.
It’s sad when things like this happen to anyone, but especially to someone as young as Monty was (33 which isn’t exactly YOUNG sure, but still way too young to go) who had such a successful product. From the sound of it he had built up enough of a team that they’ll be able to continue RWBY and anything else he was working on at Rooster Teeth, so at least his creations will carry on, and his legacy will remain intact.
So yeah, go do something creative. Suck it, Blue.