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New Meridian Map Analysis

Chrono_Tata

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So probably the more eagle eyed fans have noticed this detail in Parasoul's poster:

Keyart_Poster_Parasoul_LRG_small.png

As you can see in the inside of her emblem, there is a very sneaky map of New Meridian hidden in it.

It's pretty hard to make out so I did my best to edit the hue and contrast to make it easier to see. It's overlaid on top of the Egrets background so pretty hard to clean up. Not to mention the fact a huge chunk is covered up by the sigil itself.

map-inverted.png

Looking at the map, the most standout landmark is the huge Medici Tower in the middle. However, it looks significantly different from the Medici Tower we see in the game, which leads me to believe that this is a pretty old map that still had prototype designs.

Additionally, the scale of the buildings compared to the scenery is obviously too large and not meant to be a to-scale representation of the city. Most likely it was created a reference for locations in the city in relation to each other; similar to tourist maps where landmarks are drawn much larger than they should be. Also the fact that it seems to an old picture likely means that the layout might not match with the final design of New Meridian.

After discussing it in the lore channel of the Discord I labeled a few landmarks that can be spotted in the picture, some with more confidence than others.

map-inverted-labelled.png

Medici Tower

The most obvious one since it is the tallest building in New Meridian. Notably, the design doesn't really seem to fit with the final design, as it appears to have a tubular shape with a flat top, while the final design is rectangular with a spire.

medici_tower_eliza.png

Interestingly, Medici Tower appears to be located on top of a hill in the middle of the city, which is also confirmed in Big Band's story mode. The entire city is surrounded by a series of hills as well. This leads me to think that the city's geography is a reference to the seven hills of Rome:


The middle hill where the Tower resides appears to be a reference to Palatine Hill of Rome, which was the location of many imperial palaces and was said to be where Remus and Romulus founded the city. This fits with the story that the Medici are descendants of the original inheritors of the land, the Meridian Empire, which is also likely a reference to the Roman Empire.

Bastet's Den

The pyramid-shaped building to the right of the Tower is obviously Bastet's Den, or Eliza's club. We could see in her story and the Mobile game overmap that the building has a pyramid shape, although the final version appears to be a lot grander than in the map with more other features like columns and such.

Cirque des Cartes

Below the Tower we see a hexagonal tent-like structure which I think we can assume is the Circus. While we've never seen the outside of the building, from the inside view in Cerebella's story, it seems to be a cloth-covered tent, which is expected from an old-timey circus. The proximity to the Medici Tower also makes sense.

Maplecrest

On the top right of the map, we see a cluster of smaller buildings which appear to be houses, so most likely this is that this is the Maplecrest residential district.

Grand Cathedral

Now we're getting into the territory where I'm not sure about. Based on the overmap in Skullgirls Mobile, the Grand Cathedral appears to be on top of a hill with a direct path to Maplecrest.

maplecrest_cathedral.png

The problem is the building on the map looks nothing like the Cathedral in the game or any cathedral I've ever seen. The geography seems to be right but the shape of the building is completely off.

My other guess is that the larger building complex just below Maplecrest could be the Cathedral. The shape would be closer especially with the spire, but the location doesn't seem to be right.

It's also noteworthy that in Parasoul's story, Double told her that her mother prayed for peace at the Grand Cathedral everyday. However; Queen Nancy lived in the palace in Canopolis and not in New Meridian, so if she was able to travel to the Grand Cathedral daily, it must be close enough to Canopolis to make this possible. If we assume that Canopolis is located beyond the top-right of this map, with the road through the tunnel on the left of Maplecrest being the main route to it, maybe that makes sense.

Little Innsmouth

To the bottom right of the map next to the coast, we see piers extending into the sea with smaller buildings, which is obviously meant to be the Little Innsmouth district.

River King Casino

Another one I'm not very sure about: the tall building above Little Innsmouth appears to be the River King's Casino. The thin box shape appears to be consistent with what we've seen in the game:

Screenshot_20210715-0014032.png

We also see in this picture that the Casino's entrance faces the waterfront which fits the map. However; Streets of New Meridian stage shows the Casino entrance in-land in the middle of the city, which contradicts this.

Personally, I think the Casino facing the water makes more sense and the Streets of New Meridian design is not accurate, since:

1) The Casino is run by (or at least under the patronage of) the River King, therefore the building being near the water seems to makes more sense, especially in this map we see it on the coast but also right next to the river mouth - presumably the domain of the "River King"

2) The main body of the casino is huge and dome-like - clearly too big to be in the smaller, boxy building that we see above ground. My theory is that the Casino itself is actually an underwater dome and the building we see is simply the entrance that leads to it. If you look at the casino's interior, you can see above that there appears to be a glass dome that looks up into an underwater view. If that is the case, it makes sense that the entrance would be near the water.

casino_ceiling.png

Warehouses

Warehouses near the port district which are most likely owned by the Medici. Given how powerful they are in New Meridian, apart from their entertainment business, it makes sense that they control the main trading post of the city as well. The warehouses were also where the slaves including Patricia were kept when they were rescued.

Slaves captured in No Man's Land are probably outbound to other countries (I doubt Parasoul is okay with having slaves being openly traded and kept in Canopy Kingdom), so it makes sense the Medici makes a significant amount of money trafficking them through the port that they control.

Anti-Skullgirls Labs

Seen on the left of the map, it is located on a cliffside as seen in the SGM overmap.

After the attack on Lab 8, the survivors escaped through a secret passage and emerged from a tunnel that links to Under the Bridge next to the river. In the map, we see the river is located to the right of the Labs and with rough, mountainous terrain in-between, so it seems to be plausible that the secret escape tunnel was built through that.

Airport

Below the Labs, we see a structure that we've never seen in the story, but based on how it looks, I assume it is an airport. Not for planes, but for airships which we've seen flying around the New Meridian skies

Meridian Area Rapid Transit (MART) Line

Below the airport, we see a huge, straight path heading into the city. While it could just be a really big road, I think it makes sense to be the rail line for the MART. The MART stage shows the train starting from the outskirt of the city and go into the city proper as the match progresses, so the path seems to make sense.

It was also said that the "train stage" had been planned since earlier on in development but they didn't have the resources to implement it until later (it was released along with Robo Fortune), so it appears that the train is something that they have thought of for a while and it makes sense that it was included in an older map.

Other buildings

Ones I'm not so sure about:

The school: could either be that building complex with the spire under Maplecrest, as mentioned earlier, or maybe the building below that which has a more rounded shape. The school being close to the affluent residential district makes sense, but there are several larger buildings that could be good candidates, and nothing really looks exactly like the school as we saw in Filia's ending.

NMO Arena: Could be the building next to the River King Casino - it fits with the location of it seen in the SGM overmap. However, the shape isn't quite right, and I'm not sure if the NMO Arena would have been planned since earlier on in development? It seems like something that was made up along with Beowulf's new lore after he won the DLC vote.

Another notable thing from the map is that the river appears to more-or-less run straight through the city, while in story mode art it appears to be a lot more meandering. Again that's probably due to the map being older.


So... that's my thoughts on this which is much longer than any reasonable person should have written. Anyone have any thoughts on the map, or about the geography of New Meridian in general?
 

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I am surprised. I guess that in-spite of everything, I had never expected the Grand Cathedral to look so overtly... sinister.
Especially when its interior looks pretty normal and has nice, warm lighting.

But interesting post, it's pretty neat to consolidate Skullgirls's approximate locations with the real geography of coastal Italy and Bay Area, California.
 

Chrono_Tata

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I am surprised. I guess that in-spite of everything, I had never expected the Grand Cathedral to look so overtly... sinister.
Especially when its interior looks pretty normal and has nice, warm lighting.

But interesting post, it's pretty neat to consolidate Skullgirls's approximate locations with the real geography of coastal Italy and Bay Area, California.
Yeah the Cathedral does look extremely evil in SGM. Not sure why anyone wanna go pray there lol.

I didn't think of a connection to LA before but given Alex and most of the lore creators live there that makes sense. The port stuff actually reminds me more of New York given the old-timey Mafia theme of the Medici, but yeah it probably draws on many inspirations.
 

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Amazing Skullgirls geografic analisis, outstanding post you got here, now the curiosity is eating me and i will inspect some textures.

Like this "detail":
1631675314825.png

As you can see, theres the Medici tower, nothing wrong.

1631675366806.png

Now here that the building is on fire, a little structure behind the car just disappeared.
 
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Chrono_Tata

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Now here that the building is on fire, a little structure behind the car just disappeared.
Lol yeah. I noticed this detail as well when I was looking for images for the Casino. Probably an error of some kind although I have no idea how that happened.

My own pet theory is that it was Double disguised as a building in order to spy on local people. :p
 
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clearly the only way to resolve these inconsistencies is to put Fatal Fury 3 style travel vignettes into the story mode.