I’ve enjoyed this season of Westworld and I’m looking forward to the next one in 2018 (the gap presumably needed to negotiate the rights to another four Radiohead songs) but one thing bothered me throughout the series...was “recreate the old west” really the best thing Arnold and Ford could think of?
Of course come the season finale it was revealed that there are other parks owned by Delos besides Westworld, with a brief look at a logo and some different bots for what appears to be Samuraiworld.
Whilst on the surface this looks like a big change, it is still a variation on the basic Westworld theme; recreating an historical period for people of the present to play around in.
Guys, aim higher, or perhaps I should say aim weirder
So, what are some ideas that would be a better use of the tech of Westworld than what Westworld does?
It’s not just the human characters at Westworld who are bots, it’s the animals as well, everything from the bison down to the birds is synthesised and running on code. Presumably to make them all safe and shootable, but if you can code any animal to do any thing, why limit yourself to the same boundaries of wild and domestic we already have?
There’s a TV Trope named “all animals are dogs” highlighting the tendency of film and TV to depict all animals as having the same relationship to people that dogs do; friendliness, loyalty, and the ability to respond to commands, but in reality only dogs act like dogs, and only a very small subset of animals can be properly domesticated at all.
In Animalworld however, everything can be domesticated to dog level with just a few interactions. Want a flock of helpful birds? Big cat best friend? Ridable grizzly bear?
It seemed to be a constant struggle of the Westworld writer (that’s the man in the show, not the man and woman outside of it) to come up with new and exciting ways to entertain the customer base, with new thrills and new intrigue but...all centred around little more than your ability to kill the hosts, and the hosts ability to kill each other. But how surprising can it be to shoot a man and have him fall down dead, compared to say, shooting him and...
...something like that?
The company is under no illusion that what they’re making is anything other than a game for their customers, but there’s more than one game genre out there, and opening up the logic of the park to include a little magic ads a lot of opportunities for interesting play and narratives.
Your visitors can traverse metaphorical landscapes, or engage in surreal quests acquired from strange sources, giving them the opportunity to play not just an FPS or an action game, but puzzles and adventure games too. Heck you wouldn’t even need to remodel Westworld too much, just start with adding some robot jackalopes into the wildlife and...
...speaking of which.
Why limit yourself to the creatures that exist in this world at all? Now I can see why there may be some limits, creating a dragon the size of a building might be a smidge more than the tech can manage, but a unicorn? A faun?
Westworld itself has a guy in a Minotaur mask, but why mess around with novelty costumes when you have the tech to straight up make a minotaur? Ok obviously if you push things too far along the road of weird then the game play will start to break apart, but...it’s implied that a good number of the parks clients are just after hedonism, and as visually impressive as the brothel at Pariah was, it’s not much above Vegas, and surely Delos can put together something a thousand times better than Vegas?
So, given all that technology and orchestration, what would a Delos run by you have made with it?