17

How do hosts shoot at guests without inflicting any injury? From what we've seen so far, when a guest is shot a poof of smoke bounces off their vest, as if something hit them. (The host didn't intentionally miss.) Yet they don't even flinch. When hosts shoot each other, on the other hand, the bullets appear to do very real damage.

Was how this feature works explained yet, or is it just a story conceit we're meant to accept at this point? (perhaps to be examined at a later date)

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    It was not explained as far as I saw, but if I were going to explain it, I'd say that that the bullets have some sort of low impact vaporizing substance in them which is harmless by itself. The bullet holes may be done by some sort of self inflicting digital nanofiber in the hosts that the bullet simply allows to target replicating a realistic look, but they're never dealing with real bullets. That's the only thing I can think up off the top of my head with the level of tech shown. – Durakken Oct 4 '16 at 17:39
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    @Durakken - In the original film the guns were designed not to go off if pointed at a human. It wouldn't be any harder to have them fire two kinds of bullets, a soft round for humans and a lead round for robots. – Valorum Oct 4 '16 at 18:41
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    @Valorum Not true. two kinds of bullets mean twice the mass and twice the size needed, plus a way to rid bullets that were "used". I supposed you could program a robot to not notice that the rounds aren't used and the mechanics would be incredibly complex to pull this off that I would not trust such a gun as a guest. I suppse they could make a gun like the use in Mass Effect with the bullets they load being fakes that have a censor that pushes the charge into a secondary small barrel when it detects a host but shoots the fake regardless. – Durakken Oct 4 '16 at 18:53
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    Hmm. You could do it with a bullet with two different strike points, one at the base of the round (full charge) and one much further up the round (1/10th charge). The unspent charge would be ejected with the rest of the round when reloading. – Valorum Oct 4 '16 at 19:44
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    The only bullets we've seen bounce so far is off The Man in Black. We're told that he is an outsider, but with such realistic robots, how are we to know for sure? This is speculation, but the MiB may not be human. – Tim Oct 5 '16 at 3:25
14

This was discussed with showrunner Jonathan Nolan in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes. In short it's the bullets that are special, not the guns.

With the same guns, the guests can blow the hosts away, but then the hosts still come back the next day.

“It’s not the guns,” Nolan said. “It’s the bullets. We thought a lot about this. In the original film, the guns won’t operate guest on guest, but we felt like the guests would want to have a more visceral experience here. So when they’re shot it has sort of the impact. They’re called simunitions. The U.S. military trains with rounds like the ones we’re talking about. But there’s a bit of an impact, a bit of a sting. So it’s not entirely consequence-free for the guests.”

11 RULES OF WESTWORLD — HBO’S KILLER ROBOT SERIES

The waiver on the HBO Official "Westworld" website offers the following info.

2. (c): All weapons and equipment used within Delos parks are the exclusive property of Delos. Inc. Gun ammunition contains proprietary safeguards related to bullet velocity, and tampering with gun safety features or ammunition automatically transfers liability to you and absolves Delos, Inc. of any injury or death that may occur as a result.

And there's also this snippet on the DelosIncorporated viral website relating to "bullet velocity protocols"

AGGRESSION BETWEEN GUEST ID#398436 AND GUEST ID#435873 HAS INTENSIFIED. GUESTS NOW ACTIVELY SHOOTING AT EACH OTHER.

STATUS:

BULLET VELOCITY PROTOCOLS FULLY OPERATIONAL, AND GUESTS REMAINS UNAFFECTED, BUT MUST DEESCALATE SITUATION.

So there you go. Clear as mud.

  • Thanks especially for citing the "waiver". I suspected that would be useful in answering a number of Westworld questions. – Z. Cochrane Oct 16 '16 at 4:53

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