Rooster Teeth dipped its toes into fandom culture years ago with video games, but the company has since evolved. These days, the Texas-based production company has become a household name within the geek community, and much of that success is thanks to series like RWBY. The anime-inspired show is hard to miss on sites like Tumblr, and Rooster Teeth is ready to throw the anime fandom another gift with the likes of gen:LOCK.
Recently, ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Gray Haddock at Anime Expo 2018 about the work being put into the impending series. As Rooster Teeth's head of animation, Haddock gave us the low-down on how gen:LOCK came to be and how the it's grown large enough to support starring talent like Michael B. Jordan.
According to Haddock, the idea for gen:LOCK started rolling about two years ago as the producer wanted to tell a cautionary tale about cultural warfare. With today's political climate now reflecting many of the ideas Haddock wanted to explore, gen:LOCK became "more important" as it could comment on the the internal culture clashes happening within the United States.
When it came to stylizing, gen:LOCK was quickly given permission to lean into the anime-inspired style seen in RWBY. In particular, Haddock said mecha was used as a major influence because "there isn't enough mature mecha out there these days." At Rooster Teeth, Haddock says the motto is to make things which you find cool and they'll find an audience from there. Mecha is definitely a genre with a hungry audience behind it, and Haddock says the mecha heightens the story of gen:LOCK as it makes "metaphors for expression of self" easy to unpack.
For now, details about gen:LOCK are being kept quiet ahead of its big debut. However, Haddock did comment on its diverse character roster. The show's leads come from very inclusive backgrounds, and the producer said the goal in making such a cast was to normalize diversity.
"I miss the Gene Roddenberry spirit behind Star Trek," Haddock said. "The way he presented a certain role or character. No one would bat an eye at their sexuality, gender, color, or ethnicity. I'm sure we'll catch some flak for our characters and be accused of being social justice warriors. However, I think this kind of diversity needs to be more present in our storytelling."
For fans of Rooster Teeth's animated series, gen:LOCK will provide a new take on anime which RWBY has yet to tap into. For Haddock and his team, the opportunity gives them a chance to show the different kinds of animator Rooster Teeth is capable of doing, but there is a dream one day to perhaps tackle a full-on anime series with traditional 2D imagery.
"Rooster Teeth Animation formally organized less than four years ago," Haddock said when asked about future anime-centric projects. The producer said much of the 3D animation used by Rooster Teeth is done thanks to machinima, and the company is still developing its style and audience.
"In time, you'll see us tackle every type of animation if the story warrants it," he said. "Maybe even using VR and AR tech a long way down the road. We always want to be learning and staying engaged, so stay tuned."
Want to know more about the show? You can find the synopsis for gen:LOCK below and check out some special concept art from the series as well:
In gen:LOCK, Earth's last free society is on the losing side of a global war, and recruits a diverse team of young pilots to control the next generation of mecha—giant, weaponized robot bodies. These daring recruits will find, however, that their newfound abilities come at no small cost. As Chase leaves behind his life as a fighter pilot to become the first candidate for the program, he finds his endurance, as well as his very identity, will be tested beyond anything he ever imagined.