Westworld: How bullets work and a potentially important flaw in their design

Gunshots appear to leave a bruise on humans similar to that of a paintball

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 27 October 2016 12:09 BST

Thus far in HBO’s Westworld, the precise mechanics of the park haven’t been explained. We know that human Guests are (relatively) safe unlike the poor robot Hosts, but how is it that bullets rip through the latter but not the former?

The Terms of Service of Westworld’s parent company Delos has the answer, an indispensable source of Westworld trivia and backstory, that also turned up the different ways humans have died in the park.

According to one contract clause:

'(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.'

It seems it’s all down to the velocity of the bullets. Co-creator Jonathan Nolan elaborated on this to Rotten Tomatoes:

“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.”

This suggests that either all of the bullets are low velocity - only leaving a bruise on human skin but being fatal to the Hosts’ less resistant skin - or the guns somehow fire one kind of shell at Hosts and another at Guests.

If this is the case, there could easily be a plot point involving it at some stage. The contract acknowledges that tampering with the guns is possible, and this could lead to a dramatic death scene as a Guest realises they’ve been shot for real.

Westworld continues on HBO on Sunday nights and on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday nights in the UK.

(H/T r/Westworld)

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