Characters from Westworld’s upcoming mobile game may make it into the show itself, thanks to closer-than-usual collaboration between the writing teams of both, said the head of the studio making the game.
Jonathan Knight, the vice president and studio head at WB Games San Francisco, told Polygon that Jonathan Nolan, one of Westworld’s co-creators, is heavily involved in the game’s story and writing. Knight spoke to Polygon during a demo of the Westworld mobile game — a theme park management game meets traditional RPG — and mentioned how integrated the game’s team and the show’s writing staff were throughout the development process.
That closeness and personal investment from Nolan’s team into the game may result in new host characters from the game making their way into the series, Knight said.
“I can’t confirm that right now,” Knight laughed. “Is it possible? I like to think so. Jonah’s been pretty good about trying to find ways for the game and the show to have [connections.] At least in the writers’ room, they come up with connections, and whether that winds up on the TV series or not, I can’t say. We’ve developed new characters for the game that are certainly part of their efforts, like the ARG on their website. Definitely that work and the game are tightly integrated and there are characters that move between those.”
The ARG elements that Knight referenced have become a big part of the Westworld community. One of the most popular characters in the ARG and bot community, who keeps Westworld fans guessing while the show is off the air, is Aeden. He came to prominence last year after he began answering questions about Game of Thrones, but dedicated Reddit users quickly discovered Aeden served an even better purpose. Reddit users began to work with Aeden to collect codes that could be used on HBO’s Westworld website as a means to uncover even more information.
Knight didn’t discuss whether Aeden will appear in the mobile game as a playable host, but the connection between characters like Aeden and hosts in Westworld’s mobile game may be explored. Knight, like Nolan, wants Reddit users to pay close attention to every detail in the game, adding there are Easter eggs littered throughout the game for players to discover. These Easter eggs will correlate to the more popular, recognizable hosts from the show, including Maeve and Dolores. There are a few different ways for players to unlock Westworld’s most popular characters in the game, Knight said, but it won’t require any additional purchases.
“We’re not putting any of the recognizable players behind a paywall,” Knight said. “If you’re a free player you can get all the characters. For the really rare characters, it can be really hard to do that. You’ll get fragments of them. Some of the ways that you can get them are through the events, so if you’re competing in the events or doing well on the leader board, you can get, like, Dolores fragments. Working with the VIP guests is another way of getting access to those characters. And you may just get lucky at the manufacturing bay.”
In-game purchases will be available for players who want to speed up interactions between hosts and guests, or buy additional items, but those are all optional, Knight said. No characters can be bought; they can only be acquired by playing the game, he added. More environments and characters will be added from time to time as the second season progresses, Knight said, but it probably won’t be on a weekly basis. That means parts of Shogun World, the second park that Westworld will spend time exploring this season, will make their way into the game.
Westworld will be available on iOS and Android devices when it launches this April, coinciding with the debut of the show’s season two premiere.