Rooster Teeth Productions, a studio that began over 15 years ago with its flagship machinima series Red vs. Blue, has outlasted many of its internet pioneer peers, going on to create such big hit animated series like RWBY and gen:LOCK. While many others have died off over the years, the now-WarnerMedia subsidiary managed to stay strong and relevant in today’s competitive environment.
Now, it sounds like they are coming across tough times — or tough enough that they now have to lay off a significant chunk of their staff. According to Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum, they made the tough decision to lay off roughly 13% of their workforce.
“As we looked ahead at all of our upcoming opportunities and challenges,” Hullum wrote in a staff memo, “we had to make some difficult decisions about how we are organized. Unfortunately, this meant that earlier today we reduced the size of our team by approximately 13% overall.”
While specific reasons were not given, the memo went on to say that the “industry is evolving rapidly, and we have to evolve with it if we want to succeed.”
This all comes roughly three months after the company landed in hot water over the crunch time involved in their animation productions, with some former employees going so far as to say one-third of every season of content is essentially paid for free due to the absence of paid overtime.
It’s unclear if these are related, but what is clear that there certainly did need to be some changes, and hopefully this streamlining of staff is the first step in putting an end to the crunch culture that plagues the industry. If nothing else, I commend Rooster Teeth for their transparency in the matter.
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