At first when I saw the guy not get hurt, I assumed this was a simulated / virtual reality world. Then as the episode goes on it's shown that it's a real, physical place, with artificially intelligent robots. I sort of get the idea that the AI's programming keeps them from harming living things, but if, like in that case, the robots don't know the difference, how can they know not to kill them? They certainly have no qualms about killing each-other?

And then, when the robot shoots the "bad guy" (not sure about character names yet) with the same gun he just "killed" 2 other robots with (the ones who killed the girl's parents), how is it that the guy is immune?

I'm looking for an overall explanation of how the system of not hurting some things (flies, humans, etc) whilst hurting other things (other robots) works, and how their bullets just have no effect of living things, but hurt other robots.

  • 2
    I suggest that you withdraw this question until you've caught up with the episodes. There's a lot of information to come yet, some of which may be illuminating.
    – Tim
    Nov 4, 2016 at 0:28
  • In the original film, the guns were equipped with infrared readers that could differentiate between humans and hosts, which prevents the guests from being injured. I'd assume the guns in the show are similar but it hasn't been explained yet in the show. The infrared has its own issues (the hosts should put off similar body heat to make them more human like) but there are surely other, similar options.
    – Catija
    Nov 4, 2016 at 1:29
  • @Tim Seems to me its reasonable to ask questions to clarify a really confusing feature before you move on in a series. Sometimes you just want to understand it and not spend the next few episodes feeling confused.
    – J.Todd
    Nov 4, 2016 at 2:30
  • 2
    @Viziionary That's like wanting to know who the killer is at the start of the thriller to avoid being confused about all these people who seem to be so suspicious. Why spoil what might be an intentional element of the makers? Also, it's a sci-fi series, so expect some handwaving WRT explanations.
    – BCdotWEB
    Nov 4, 2016 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


Copied from this answer over on Science Fiction & Fantasy

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.”


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.

So there you go. Clear as mud.

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