It’s all fun and games until someone gets stabbed by a malfunctioning robotic cowboy.
Season 3 of HBO’s critically-acclaimed series Westworld doesn’t even have a release date yet and already the premium cable provider is well underway promoting the latest installment of its sci-fi western series.
**Slight spoilers ahead**
Premiering at unknown date next year, Season 3 of Westworld will continue to follow the series’ main protagonist, Delores, as she finally escapes the confines of her theme park prison and ventures into the outside world for the first time. Last month a new trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con revealed that Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul has joined the cast alongside several other major additions. Of course, we’ll have to wait until 2020 to find out exactly where his character will fit into the shows increasingly-expanding plot.
Until then, HBO is offering fans a chance to satisfy their ferocious hunger for everything Westworld with the release of a new VR experience that puts players in the shoes of a self-aware host (android).
Developed in partnership with Survios, VR arcade provider and developer behind hit titles such as Sprint Vector and Raw Data, Westworld Awakening players enter the Westworld universe as a sentient host named Kate. You begin the experience inside a western-themed mansion and are tasked with avoiding a murderous host who—after going rogue from its programming—is now trying to attack you with a bowie knife. If you’re familiar with the show at all, you can probably guess how this interaction ends.
After taking a direct hit to the gut, you “reactivate” inside the confines of the infamous Delos Mesa Laboratory. Awakening takes place during the second season of the show, during which (more spoilers ahead) the park’s robots rebel against their human ringmasters and reign down a savage beating inside the compound.
As a newly-sentient host, you’ll navigate the chaotic battleground that is now the Delos Laboratory, solving various puzzles, collecting clues, and avoiding Delos security in a desperate attempt to escape, both physically and mentally. At one point you even make contact with a human survivor, with whom you’ll work alongside to escape. Using a locomotion mechanic similar to that of Survios’ Sprint Vector, players move about the environment by swinging their arms back in forth in a running motion; the faster you swing, the quicker you run.
“This is a full-length experience. This isn’t a taste,” said Survios producer Michael Patrick Clark during in an interview with VentureBeat. “This is a full product that you’re going to enjoy.”
“That’s one of the things — given that it’s a story about storytelling, you can lay down — the relationship between Kate the victim and Hank the killer is a very straightforward trope. We’ve seen that countless times. But then we’re able to use that as a launching point. Rather than telling that story, that’s taken as a given, and then we can tell a much more elaborate story about that relationship and that purpose and why they are.”
Westworld Awakening is available on Viveport, Oculus, and SteamVR for $30. The game will also be available at popular VR arcades beginning tomorrow.
Westworld Awakening marks HBO’s second attempt at an immersive Westworld experience. During Techcrunch Disrupt 2016, HBO launched a Westworld-themed immersive exhibit that offered attendees the chance to step into a simplistic location-based VR experience that included an introduction of the Westworld theme park, an interactive shooting range, and a 360-degree behind-the-scenes look at the Delos Meta Lab.
Westworld Awakening marks the first Westworld-themed immersive experience available to both consumers and VR arcade providers.
Featured Image Credit: HBO, Survios