Batman Alternate Reality Game?!

The sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, will be launched in cinemas on July 18, 2008. Warner Bros are busy with preparing audiences now, however, with an emerging online ‘alternate reality’ campaign. On May 12, Warner Bros put the official teaser site online [source].

Batman logo

The site has the batman image, but soon after it linked to a site set within the fictional universe: [source]. This site is the political campaign for Harvey Dent, the character that becomes “Two Face” after being disfigured by acid.

Harvey Dent

The Harvey Dent image was also seen around the streets of the US, and within 48-72 hours were then defaced. [source]

Defaced Dent


On May 19th, a comic store employee in Southern California reported finding a whole lot of doctered joker cards lying around their store, Meltdown. The cards have the words HaHa and ‘I Believe in Harvey Dent Too’ [source].

Joker Cards 
[pic source]

Fans realised that the words ‘I believe in Harvey Dent too’ was indeed a URL (a device used quite readily in ARGs).  The new site,, had a defaced image of Harvey Dent and the offer to enter your email address. An email notified fans of an X and Y coordinate on the defaced image of Harvey Dent.


[pic source]

And then, as Muhammed Saleem explains:

But since participation is limited to one user and one pixel removal per email address, the average user will only be able to participate once. And since every ardent fan is desperate to see what lies beneath, it is in the best interest of every fan to spread the word as much as possible and to get the process going faster and faster so that we can all see what lies beneath. At this point the users undoubtedly take matters into their own hands, start spreading the word and try to get other users to participate and remove pixels.  

And so, the collective efforts of strangers all over the globe (or mainly the US I’d say) got together and took out one pixel as a time. 

Pixelated Joker

[pic source]

And Muhammud continues:

As you can see, the campaign has successfully become viral and the Warner advertising machine rejoices. Not only have the various sites been submitted to socially driven communities, but there have been incoming links from a multitude of film sites and blogs alike. Within a matter of hours, we have the following reconstruction of the final image:

Joker image

[pic source]

On May 21st, the Joker image was taken down. The site just has, now, the words ‘page not found’. However, fans did what ARG players do: highlighted the page. When you do this you see the page littered is with Haha’s, and some letters. Do it, it’s fun!


[pic source]

The letters spell out ‘See You in December’. The URL for is reported to have been registered by ARG production company 42 Entertainment. [source] 42 Entertainment do some great stuff, though recently their work as been light on narrative. I hope that Christopher Nolan, the director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (and lots of other great films), has had some input too. This looks like alot of fun, though, why can’t I still register my email address to receive email updates anywhere? Anyway, I’ll be keeping my eyes on the skies for a bat..

ARG community gameplay at unfiction