It has been a depressing couple of weeks in the gaming community, with the loss of Andrew Yoon, Olga Yakovleva, and now Monty Oum. Burnie Burns from Rooster Tooth posted 4 days ago on Monty’s hospitalization. He was in a critical state while surrounded by close friends and loving family when he passed away at 4:34 PM on Monday. Ten days ago, Oum suffered a severe allergic reaction during a simple medical procedure that left him in a coma. He fought bravely but sadly could not overcome. Fortunately during his time in hospital he was cared for and passed without any pain. After his death was announced, Rooster Teeth released a short edition of their news show “The Know.” Meg Turney informed viewers that no other videos would be released on that day in order to pay respects to Oum. Rooster Teeth’s Matt Hullum urged fans to honor his passing in a statement:
“As for honoring Monty, we will do that in our own way. In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative. Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can. If you know Monty like we do, then you know he would certainly be doing that if he were able to.”
In honor of Oum’s passing we decided to revisit his past and discuss his successful career and achievements as an animator. Monty was a self-taught 3D animator, making a name for himself with the short CGI film Haloid — a combination of Halo and Metroid. Described as a diamond in the rough, it was an impressive feature put together in a little over two months under tight budget. Haloid showcased spectacular fight choreography, crisp visuals, and fanservice while parodying both game series and the shooter genre. Two months after the premiere of Haloid, Oum was hired by Midway Games as a Combat Designer. In 2008 he was hired by Namco Bandai Games as a Combat Designer/Animator for Afro Samurai. His next project, Dead Fantasy, was a fan series of CGI fights between characters from Dead Or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. He released 5 episodes of Dead Fantasy and a preview of the sixth episode. Oum also created two music video spin-offs of the series, and went to work for Rooster Tooth in 2009, leaving Dead Fantasy on the back-burner.
As a contributor to the groundbreaking CGI series Red Vs Blue, Oum also worked tirelessly on Tex’s character development. He worked on Red Vs Blue from seasons 8 through 10, and during season 9 developed his idea for RWBY (pronounced Ruby) with Shane Newville in the local IHOP. Oum approached Burnie Burns with his idea for RWBY and received a reply telling him that if he finished season 10 of Red Vs Blue, he would be able to do whatever he wanted. After Season 10 of Red Vs Blue, Oum got permission to start work on RWBY.
As the lead writer and director of RWBY, Oum borrowed Rooster Tooth employees from Achievement Hunter and other sections to produce it. The story of RWBY takes place in a war-torn world filled with magic and creatures called Grimm, and revolves around four Huntresses who form team RWBY at Beacon Academy.
According to anecdotes from colleagues gathered across the web, Oum was a workaholic who always had a passion for whatever he was working on. He would often forego sleep in order to complete a project on a self-imposed deadline. His colleagues would often joke he was an insomniac. Oum always had something new planned, was always working on a new project while developing others. He is survived by his wife and family, as well as a countless number of fans and friends. It’s clear that he touched a lot of lives and garnered the respect of friends and colleagues. The Rooster Teeth Podcast addressed the loss of their friend and colleague on February 3 in the recent episode of RT Podcast #309.
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