Westworld Showrunner Inspired By BioShock, Elder Scrolls, And Red Dead
HBO's latest original show, Westworld, premiered on Sunday. The show's mysteries already have people talking, and video game fans may feel like they're being transported into a new open-world RPG. That's not exactly an accident.
In an interview with Vice, showrunner Jonathan Nolan talks about the video game inspirations that he and fellow showrunner Lisa Joy draw from when shaping Westworld. This includes shout-outs to popular names in gaming like BioWare, Ken Levine, and Rockstar Games. Here's an excerpt:
I was fascinated by the concept of writing a story in which the protagonists’ actions aren’t part of the story. In games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim,Red Dead Redemption, or the sandbox games that Bioware make, morality is a variable. How do you write a story in which the hero’s moral component exists on a spectrum? That’s a fascinating challenge. I’m also fascinated by how non-player-characters in video games have their own lives. In Skyrim, when you walk into a village, you aren’t necessarily the most important person there. The NPCs have lives that happen whether you’re there or not. I was listening to directors’ commentary from Ken Levine about building Bioshock Infinite and the affection that game developers and designers develop for their characters. It’s a qualitatively different relationship than the one screenwriters have with their characters, because video game characters don’t just recite dialogue—they do s---, and the players interact with them.
If you're intrigued by Westworld so far, you should read the entire interview for details that stretch beyond the realm of video games.