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RIP ‘Red vs. Blue.’ Machinima Is Gone—but Its Legacy Is Everywhere

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the end of the long-running web series "Red vs. Blue" and how it represents the evolution of machinima, a form of filmmaking that uses in-game footage. It explores how machinima has influenced various forms of online content creation, from Fortnite concerts to CG short films, and how the tools and techniques have evolved over the years.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The End of Red vs. Blue

1. What is the significance of the end of the Red vs. Blue series?

  • The end of Red vs. Blue, the final installment called "Restoration", marks the end of an era for machinima, a form of filmmaking that uses in-game footage.
  • Red vs. Blue was once at the forefront of this new form of entertainment and helped establish Rooster Teeth as a production company.
  • The unceremonious release of the final installment on streaming platforms with minimal fanfare or promotion is seen as a sad moment for fans of the series and Rooster Teeth.

2. How did Red vs. Blue exemplify the potential of machinima?

  • Red vs. Blue was created by linking several Xboxes together and recording footage of a Halo multiplayer match, then adding voiceover.
  • The absurdist, existential tone of the dialog was a hilarious counterpoint to the run-and-gun gameplay of the first-person shooter used to create it.
  • The show's creators founded Rooster Teeth and made more than a dozen seasons' worth of episodes, developing a huge fan base and becoming a geek touchstone.

[02] The Legacy of Machinima

1. How has machinima evolved and influenced other forms of content creation?

  • While the term "machinima" is not used much anymore, the practice of using games to create everything from streams to clips to GIFs to art films is still going strong and is "everywhere".
  • Examples include Fortnite concerts featuring major recording artists, and the use of game engines like Unreal Engine in virtual production processes for films and TV shows.
  • Online content creators continue to create livestreams, film clips, and memes using games, with platforms making it easier to capture and edit in-game footage.

2. How has the approach to machinima content creation evolved?

  • Initially, there was an expectation that the digital puppeteer creating the footage would want to make their role invisible, and the content would be consumed like a typical film or TV show.
  • However, content creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube became more popular by letting the audience see behind the curtain, keeping one foot in the real world and one foot in the game world.
  • This approach of embracing the game-based nature of the content has become more prevalent, in contrast to the initial vision of machinima.

3. What is the lasting impact of Red vs. Blue on content creation?

  • The co-creators of Red vs. Blue recognize that their "approach to content creation on emerging platforms paved the way for new media models" and "inspired generations of creators across streaming, machinima, animation, let's plays, merch drops, touring, podcasting, and more."
  • Even as the tools and software have evolved, the irreverence, humor, and game culture that were at the core of Red vs. Blue remain central to a significant portion of online entertainment.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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