Behind the Scenes: Creating the Westworld Skill on Amazon Alexa

July 11, 2018

 

Westworld-the-maze-original

Since our company was founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, we have aspired to bring characters to life through computer conversation. With more than seven years of experience in the computer conversation space, predating the introduction of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, we’ve been at the forefront of innovation, building software and domain expertise to deliver incredible voice experiences.

PullString is fortunate to call some of the best entertainment and media brands our customers. We are excited to partner with 360i and the team at Xandra to create Westworld: The Maze skill on Amazon Alexa. Powered by the PullString Conversation Cloud, a scalable and secure conversational AI platform, the teams from 360i and Xandra were able to seamlessly manage the game development process as well as the voice-over and custom audio to create a highly engaging conversational experience.

360i, an award-winning advertising agency, and Xandra, a global conversation design studio, leveraged PullString’s technology to create a voice-enabled Westworld experience, which immerses fans in the show’s fictional environment as if they were a host finding a path to consciousness. This collaboration enabled the 360i and HBO teams to produce and release the network’s first full-scale voice skill “Westworld: The Maze,” in record time.

Playing as a "Host," you must successfully navigate the Westworld universe and find your way to the center of The Maze by answering increasingly difficult questions to complete three levels: memory, improvisation, and self-interest.

HBO and the teams at 360i and Xandra started work on the game in mid-March and had to conceive of the game, work on the script with Westworld production company Kilter Films, record the audio, and build the experience in just a few months to get it done before the finale.

360i's head of innovation tech, Layne Harris, notes that building a game for Alexa—done using the PullString platform—is straightforward and allows for constant testing and iterations to produce the most engaging experiences.

"Our team at Xandra worked with 360i to design, prototype and publish the Westworld skill by leveraging the PullString software platform, which enabled us to seamlessly build the complex skill and speed up iteration cycles," said Zach Johnson, CEO of Xandra. "It allowed us to incorporate user context for future interactions and custom audio to build an immersive voice experience."

Westworld: The Maze contains over 60 storylines, 400 possible choices, and more than two full hours of unique gameplay. Ready to see if this game is meant for you? Enable the skill to try out this experience: "Alexa, open Westworld."

Creatives and developers: Are you looking to create an innovative voice experience to activate and engage fans? To see how we help brands such as Viacom, Nickelodeon, iHeartRadio and Activision to rapidly design, prototype, and publish voice apps, contact us to schedule a demo.

Written by Jenna Cheng

Jenna Cheng is the Director of Marketing at PullString, where she leads brand awareness, consideration and demand generation initiatives for the company. She is passionate about emerging voice technologies and growing the PullString community of voice app innovators, conversational designers, product managers, digital marketers, and developers.

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