South of Midnight gets an extended gameplay reveal at Xbox Showcase


From the creators of Contrast and We Happy Few, South of Midnight is going to be a unique and lively third-person action-adventure game set in the American Deep South.

The game from Compulsion Games is coming to Xbox Series X/S (with Xbox Game Pass), Windows PC (with PC Game Pass), and Steam. The game got an extended gameplay preview at the Xbox Showcase today, but it isn’t launching until 2025.

In the game, you play as Hazel and you will explore the mythos and encounter creatures of Southern folklore in a macabre and fantastical world. When disaster strikes her hometown, Hazel is called to become a Weaver: a magical mender of broken bonds and spirits. The gameplay looked quite good.

Imbued with these new abilities, Hazel will confront and subdue dangerous creatures, untangle the webs of her own family’s shared past and – if she’s lucky – find her way to a place that feels like home.

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During the demo of the third-person action adventure, we meet Hazel and her newly-revealed companion, Catfish, as they travel through a flooded area inspired by the Mississippi Delta – and quickly find themselves facing down one of the game’s monster Kings. Meet Two-Toed Tom, a gigantic albino alligator with a powerful hunger, and even his own theme song.

South of Midnight is coming in 2025.

The trailer offers a look at combat and traversal, showing off Hazel’s magical weaving powers, and gives us a taste of the game’s darkly gorgeous Deep South setting.

Compulsion likes to do things differently, and South of Midnight is a shining example of just how far they’ll take that philosophy.

The trailer footage – taken from around a third of the way through the story – reintroduces us to our heroine Hazel (who we met in last year’s introductory trailer), now accompanied by a character who’ll follow her throughout the game, the loquacious Catfish.

Following a Category 5 hurricane, Hazel has lost her mother, but gained once-dormant powers of Weaving, a magical ability that allows her to rework the tapestry of energy that makes up the universe. That doesn’t come too soon – reality itself has begun to fray, leading her deeper and deeper into a magical realist world, where folktale creatures have sprung to life, and corruption is overtaking the ruins left in the hurricane’s path.

As the trailer begins, Hazel and Catfish are on her mother’s trail – but spot one of the game’s mythical creatures, nightmarish bosses borne out of real-life folktales from the American South. Two-Toed Tom – a blind, albino alligator the size of an island, offered new hunting grounds by widespread flooding. Catfish tells Hazel to travel to a dilapidated church and ring its bell to lure Tom so that they can escape, and she uses a variety of Weaving powers to bypass obstacles – until she meets a Haint.

South of Midnight
South of Midnight has a lot of beasts.

Haints are the game’s most common enemies, and come in many forms – what we see here is a Brute archetype, a mass of twisted negative energy given form by the trauma of the world around it. Hazel uses her Weaving powers to attack the threat with both Weaving tools and magic – but in storytelling terms, she’s weakening the dark psychic energy left behind here, until she’s literally given the option to ‘Unravel’ it with a finishing move. As the Haint is yanked back out of reality, flowers bloom around Hazel. She hasn’t killed something – she’s fixed what was broken.

South of Midnight’s creative director is David Sears. Jasmin Roy is game director and the art director is Whitney Clayton. They have focused their vision on repairing a world through the magic of Weaving. Weavers are supposed to make things right in the world. To root their work in the real world, the developers took a trip to a real Mississippi ghost town, itself infested with alligators, according to an internal Microsoft interview.

Everything Hazel does is powered by her Weaving, and this links your actions intrinsically with a core goal of fixing what’s broken.

There is a Southern Gothic influence, and a notion of taking feminine crafts and making them powerful with a female protagonist. That’s why Weaving is magical. Weaving can push or pull objects in the world to help solve puzzles or affect combat.

South of Midnight’s wildlife represents the South’s beauty, and the tumor-laced walls around a combat arena are dubbed Stigma, a physical manifestation of negative energy.

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