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Westworld Has Been Influenced by Grand Theft Auto & Bioshock, According to Its Creators

Alessio Palumbo
Posted Oct 11, 2016
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If you regularly watch TV shows, chances are you’ve already heard of HBO’s Westworld. The TV show distributed by Warner Bros. is based on the 1973 movie of the same name, where the titular Westworld is a Western-themed amusement park that is fully populated by androids.

Human guests pay to enter the park and enjoy its multiple storylines without fear of any repercussions from the androids. This concept will be already familiar to gamers, but there’s more: Westworld’s villain, played by renowned actor Ed Harris, is trying to “unlock” a hidden maze in what he calls a “game”.

It’s a bit like an open world title, then, where the human guests can roam around and do as they please. When you consider it that way, it’s perhaps unsurprising that series creator Jonathan Nolan cited Grand Theft Auto as inspiration during Westworld’s New York Comic Con panel.

We played some as research for making this show, as when (Michael) Crichton first wrote his movie, video games literally didn’t exist except for PONG. I’m happy to report my wife is the world’s most boring Grand Theft Auto player.

Lisa Joy Nolan, who is co-creating the show with her husband, replied:

The city looks beautiful if you just slow it down and take your time.

Actress Thandie Newton, who plays one of the androids in Westworld, added:

The way they crafted some of the shots is to mimic a video game.

But GTA isn’t the only game that the Nolans have appreciated during their foray into gaming. Here’s what Jonathan Nolan said of Bioshock:

[the games are] amongst the most literate and thoughtful pieces of entertainment I’ve seen in the last ten years.

Going back to the aforementioned character played by Ed Harris, Nolan offered a bit more insight before the panel’s end.

The way that we act in our simulations is not how we act in the real world. The way we are there is not the way we are in the real world. That binary aspect of his personality is something we’re exploring, it really speaks to the game-like aspect of it.

Fellow gamers, have you seen Westworld already and if so, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments.

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