Ultimate Breakdown of Westworld’s SXSW Activation!

Image Courtesy of Austin360
Image Courtesy of Austin360

As this year’s SXSW festival in Austin gets into full swing, Westworld‘s highly anticipated interactive experience is officially open to VERY lucky badge-holding fans. Fortunately, HBO’s activation gave a sneak peek to the media on Thursday night, many of whom were kind enough to report back in detail (and with pictures) all the different elements fans can expect to encounter while making their way through the entire experience.

Fandango‘s Managing Editor, Erik Davis, was one of the lucky few to walk the installation before it opened to the public, and live tweeted his experience through it. Let the adventure begin!


After being bussed to an undisclosed location 30 minutes from the SXSW site, fans arrive at the familiar-looking check in desk, where they are assigned either a black or white hat:

From there, guests walk into a fully-dressed train car, similar to the one the incoming visitors on the show take from Delos headquarters into the park. On the far end of the train car lies the entrance to the built-out town of Sweetwater:

According to the Austin Business Journal, who spoke with HBO’s Director of Program Marketing Steven Cardwell, the town of Sweetwater took 5 weeks to build for this activation, which features a full Mariposa Saloon, a hotel, and an assortment of storefronts. “[Westworld] in and of itself is an immersive entertainment experience,” said Cardwell. “So it only seemed like a natural extension to do that here in Austin.”

As guests make their way through the town, they encounter many different types of hosts, all of whom are working off of a 444 page script that was written specifically for the activation. Davis happened to come across a poker game and a few drunk hosts passed out:

One of the storefronts is a post office, where each guest can find a personalized letter addressed to them. Davis’ letter looks to be from a woman named Barbara who had to skip town unexpectedly after a rough night out:

Guests can also indulge their cravings with some brisket and stiff drinks at the Coronado Hotel:

According to Austin360, all-in-all the activation lasts about 90 minutes before the hosts begin resetting their storylines for the next group of visitors, giving fans plenty of time to explore the town’s offerings and have some fun conversations with the activation’s 60 hosts.

Check out Davis’ full Twitter thread, as well as the full Austin Business Journal and Austin360 articles. The latter also has a Facebook Live video up on their page that captures the entire walk through the activation, which is certainly worth a watch. And of course, let us know what you think!

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