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HBO's Westworld explores how people might behave in a game-like reality

"We’re no more sadistic than watching our friends playing Grand Theft Auto," Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan said recently, noting the show explores how humans might act in a game-like simulation.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

October 10, 2016

1 Min Read

"We’re no more sadistic than watching our friends playing Grand Theft Auto."

- Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan speaks to how the carefree violence depicted in the show mirrors the behavior he's seen players display in video games.

HBO's new sci-fi thriller series, Westworld, examines what might happen when people can pay to play in a theme park (themed around America's "Wild West") filled with robots who look, act, and feel like humans -- but are programmed to forget everything the visitors do.

As you might expect, the show depicts people doing a variety of depraved things to these human-esque machines. Many devs and other members of the game industry have commented on the ways this reflects how people behave in video games, and at a recent press event show co-creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan confirmed that's absolutely by design.

"With Westworld, we’re looking for the next moment [beyond games, or VR]," said Nolan, after noting that none of the violent acts characters in the show commit against the androids seem worse than what players can do in a Grand Theft Auto game. "A Westworld video game would be deeply ironic."

You can read more of his comments in this thoughtful report from The Verge.

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