As if Westworld didn’t have a pedigree stamp already, Hideo Kojima has just praised its approach to world design, quoting the phrase Anthony Hopkins’ character Robert Ford used to describe Westworld.
Watched "Westworld" E2. What Anthony Hopkins said in that story was an exact theory of my game design. pic.twitter.com/KbJaXQ5N8bNovember 1, 2016
Hopkins’ character says that people return to Westworld because the "subtleties" of the world around them - whether that be a permissive glance, or a bartender who polishes glasses behind the bar - shows them "a glimpse of who they could be", rather than who they already are. The world pulls them back because "they discover something they hadn’t noticed before, something they fall in love with", and characters find it hard to let go of this new world where they can be someone different.
Kojima has praised this approach to world design as it mimics his own theory about creating games, whereby the world allows players to discover new sides to themselves. Once players start a game, or when Guests enter Westworld, they can behave completely differently to how they would in real life and turn into someone different, letting them explore different sides to their psyche.
Westworld gives me shivers. In the anything-goes atmosphere of Westworld where you can be whoever you want, I think these unpleasant versions of people are more likely to surface. Maybe we should keep NPCs in games, as Westworld hints that they’re safer there where they can at least respawn after each quicksave massacre.
Read our Westworld episode 5 review (opens in new tab) here!