Mapping Gotham

Layering and Transmedia in Batman’s Fictional City

The Arkham games reveal the most palimpsestual qualities of Origins’ Gotham are tied up with the Gotham of Arkham City. While the concept of the palimpsest derived from textual analysis places importance on that which has been erased from a manuscript document to make space for new writing, in critiquing contemporary cultural objects we can think in terms of layering as well as erasure to focus on the theoretical implications of adding new tiers of meaning to form novel products over on top of relevant qualities that pre-exist in the transmedia assemblage. Asylum’s world was largely limited and matched the player’s linear progression through the game’s narrative. Players are allowed to visit one part of the game map at a time, and a heavy emphasis is placed upon indoor environments. Open movement through the exterior areas of Arkham Island is mainly used to go from building to building, with only sidelining points of interest. In Arkham City, however, the focus shifts from the inside to the outside, as the game is filled with side missions and enemies to face all over the map, as well as some missions involving trails of clues from point to point in the city, or chases that ask the player to traverse great distances over a limited period of time. Continue Reading