Warner Bros. had been considering a remake of Westworld since the early 1990s and after the departure of studio executive Jessica Goodman in 2011, the project was again under consideration. On August 31, 2013, it was announced that premium cable channel HBO had ordered a pilot for a potential television series version of the story, with Jonathan Nolan directing and co-writing with Lisa Joy. Nolan, Joy, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are executive producers.
HBO announced on November 17, 2014, that Westworld had been taken to series and that it would premiere in 2015. In August 2015, HBO released the first teaser which revealed it would premiere in 2016. It is the second series based on Crichton’s original story after the 1980s Beyond Westworld, which aired only three episodes on CBS before being cancelled.
Abrams suggested that the show be told with the perspective of the “Hosts” in mind. Nolan took inspiration from video games like BioShock Infinite, Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to deal with the narrative’s moral component on a spectrum. He explained the show would explore why “violence is in most of the stories we like to watch, but it isn’t part of what we like to do” through the characters known as “Guests”, who give payment to satisfy those urges. The autonomous existence of non-player characters in video games influenced the approach to the individual storylines in Westworld that are reset in a continuous loop.
The series’ title sequence was created by production studio Elastic, which had previously created the title sequences for Rome, Carnivàle and Game of Thrones for HBO. Patrick Clair served as creative director for the title sequence.