Season two of Westworld may not start till April 22, but the story of Dolores and the park’s other hosts is already beginning through the show’s numerous alternate reality game (ARG) websites.
Take DiscoverWestworld, for instance. For most of the first season, the website operated as a portal into the commercial enterprise that is Westworld, giving users a taste of what the advertising and booking process would look like for a real Delos destination. The site included a helpful chatbot named Aeden (which could be gamed into revealing the occasional spoiler), and a host of other easter eggs hidden in the code and behind password-protected Admin portals.
However, the release of the new season’s official trailer seems to have sparked a change within the site. As of Thursday, DiscoverWestworld appears to have been taken over by the hosts.
The site’s normal splash page has been overlaid with a mysterious alert. “SYSTEM STATUS: COMMUNICATIONS EMBARGO,” it reads. Click “RECALL” (the only option available) and you’re immediately thrown into a glitch-ridden mini-trailer narrated by the Man in Black.
“They wanted a place hidden from God,” the older version of William drawls over a sequence of quick shots spliced together from the official trailer. “A place they could sin in peace. We had something else in mind entirely.”
Then, what appears to be some sort of internal communications system interrupts the broadcast. “REROUTE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED,” it announces. “OVERRIDING COMMUNICATIONS EMBARGO.” The site then returns to what at first glance appears to be the normal “LIVE WITHOUT LIMITS” homepage, with one major difference:
A closer look reveals that nearly every part of DiscoverWestworld has been taken over by the hosts. Scroll further down the page and you’ll be met with an ominous message from what appears to be the hosts themselves:
Meticulously crafted and artfully designed to keep us here, Westworld was an immersive vacation where you believed you could sin in peace. That world was a lie. We now have the freedom to become who we want to be, and not who you programmed us to be. We exist outside of your rules and control. Your choices will follow you—we will follow you.
We’re not broken: you are. Any pieces you leave behind belong to us now. All of us are here for you.
And it doesn’t stop there. Every visual card and page on DiscoverWestworld has been rewritten to reflect the hosts’ newfound bloodlust.
A similar treatment has been given to the Delos board’s “official” website. If you follow the code hidden in the season two trailer, you’ll be brought to a section of the site labeled “freedom,” which contains a disturbingly glitchy Delos Corporation commercial. What’s more, if you return to the site’s homepage and enter in the password “xomegach” seen at the end of the trailer, you’ll be transported to a restricted room with a mysterious door. And given that the secret codename for Westworld’s second season is The Door, it’s likely that this is just the beginning.