Why are we here? That’s the question two bumbling soldiers from the Halo video games asked themselves fifteen years ago in the revolutionary web series Red Vs. Blue, which put Texas-based studio Rooster Teeth on the map. Now, fifteen years later, Rooster Teeth will recount its history in an in-depth documentary, Why We’re Here: 15 Years of Rooster Teeth from RT Docs. Inverse has the exclusive first look at the film’s teaser trailer.

Premiering April 20 on FIRST, Why We’re Here gives fans of Rooster Teeth — the studio behind online hits like Red Vs. Blue, RWBY, Achievement Hunter, and more — a rare glimpse at its origins while unearthing over a decade’s worth of never-before-seen archival material.

Directed by Mat Hames (Becoming Jessica Nigri), the film stars co-founders Matt Hullum and Burnie Burns — now CEO and COO of Rooster Teeth respectively — going back to where it all began: The spare bedroom where Burns uploaded “Why Are We Here?” onto the internet back on April 1, 2003.

Fifteen years ago, before the ubiquity of YouTube and social media, the guys behind the now-defunct website drunkgamers.com broke the internet with a comedy short — titled “Why Are We Here?” — that was “filmed” inside the Xbox shooter game Halo. The short quickly became the pilot to Red Vs. Blue, a successful sci-fi sitcom set to air its sixteenth season on April 15.

Rooster Teeth
The early days of 'Rooster Teeth, circa 2003. Filming and producing 'Red Vs. Blue' required a few Xbox consoles hooked up over a local-area network.

A pioneer in the art form known as machinima, Red Vs. Blue laid the foundation for its creators to form Rooster Teeth, a full-fledged studio in Austin, Texas with practically its own ecosystem of content creation and distribution (via its own subscription service, FIRST). On YouTube, Rooster Teeth has over 45 million subscribers across its multiple channels, including more than 9 million on its main channel alone.

“I felt like I was really, we were really, embarking on something new,” Burns told Inverse in an interview last year. “Red Vs. Blue was a project I had in mind for a long time. That feeling of putting it up for the first time and watching it explode and get shared everywhere on the big sites at the time, it was incredible. It wasn’t an overnight success, but it’s the closet thing I’ve ever experienced to that.”

Some of Rooster Teeth’s other major hits include the fantasy anime RWBY, the live-action films Lazer Team and Lazer Team 2, the apocalyptic drama Day 5, and a slew of podcasts and Let’s Play broadcasts. Rooster Teeth also has its own network of conventions, RTX, which hosts events in Austin, Sydney, and London.

Why We’re Here: 15 Years of Rooster Teeth will premiere April 20 on FIRST.


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