The release window, the game and everything we know

Compulsion Games’ third-person action-adventure game South of Midnight immediately caught our attention with its mix of richly atmospheric environments, dark fairy tale elements, and magical realism inspirations. We had a flurry of new information after the Xbox Games Showcase 2024, so let’s jump right in everything we know so far about South of Midnight!

Everything we know about South of Midnight

When is south of midnight coming out?

We don’t have a specific date yet, but the Xbox Games Showcase gave us a 2025 release window for South of Midnight.

What platforms is South of Midnight coming to?

Published by Xbox Game Studios, South of Midnight is an Xbox exclusive coming to
Xbox Series X|S and Windows. Since it’s a first-party exclusive, we won’t see it on PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch.

Is South of Midnight Coming to Xbox Game Pass?

Yes! South of Midnight comes from first-party Xbox studio Compulsion Games (the developers behind We Happy Few) and will launch directly on Game Pass when it arrives in 2025.

South of Midnight: Release window, gameplay and everything we know

What is South of Midnight about?

South of Midnight is set in the American Deep South, in a world where dark magic and folklore exist everywhere. In an interview with Xbox Wire last year, creative director David Sears explained the importance of Magical Realism to the ideas behind South of Midnight. “It comes from the concept that monsters are real – you just have to jump over the backyard fence. The further you get away from the influences of civilization, the more magical the world becomes… Magic Realism is one of the calling cards of the Southern Gothic. It’s a license to actually put magic into the modern world and have creatures out there that are just accepted. We’re not going to give you a dump on the game, and that’s in the spirit of Magical Realism, right? We’re explaining enough that you’ll just accept it.”

In South of Midnight, our character Hazel must become a Weaver (someone who can use weaving magic to magically repair and restore dangerous creatures and broken bonds) after a hurricane hits her hometown of Prospero. The South of Midnight Xbox site tells us that Hazel will “face and subdue dangerous creatures, unravel the webs of her family’s shared past, and—if she’s lucky—find her way to a place that it feels like home.” It looks like there’s an added mystery there, as Hazel will also try to save her mother, “relive the tears in the Grand Tapestry” and figure out her own identity.

South of Midnight: Release window, gameplay and everything we know

An interesting aspect of South of Midnight’s story is that according to the South of Midnight site, the game’s story “lies within a storybook presentation that progresses throughout the game. Like opening a book and closing it when it’s finished, each chapter is guided by a dynamic narrator.”

Meanwhile, the setting is heavily inspired by “myths of the deep South.” Compulsion Games says that Prospero is a “lush, decaying” area, and the game’s music is also inspired by the South, with “our character-driven, lyrical music featuring a wide range of instruments and vocalists with a personal touch of the essence of darkly folkloric”. Fascinatingly, each creature, according to an interview with Xbox Wire, will have its own theme song, which will eventually build into the lyrics giving their story (you can see a bit of this with Two-Toed Tom in the trailer of the game).

South of Midnight: Release window, gameplay and everything we know

Along with the game’s dark fairy tale atmosphere, another aspect that immediately stands out is its distinctive, slightly shocking, stop-motion style: “Continuing the signature direction of Compulsion, the characters and shapes are more distinct, ‘the hand-crafted’ and enhanced by stop. -Treatment with motion animation.”

We get a few more hints about what to expect from the world itself from that Xbox Wire interview after the Xbox Games Showcase 2024 with creative director David Sears, art director Whitney Clayton, and game director Jasmin Roy, where the world of South of Midnight is described as “broad-linear” with each region having its own biome. “So the way we built the environment is because we want players to follow the narrative but have more to sink their teeth into – sometimes you can see several sections more open, hub-like,” explains Roy.

What kind of game is South of Midnight?

South of Midnight is a third-person action-adventure game set in the American Deep South. Compulsion’s FAQ tells us that the game’s Weaving Magic will focus on combat, traversal, and puzzle elements, and that South of Midnight is for “anyone interested in a mythic fantasy novel with deeply thematic gameplay. Players who enjoy experiences of thoughtful yet dynamic gameplay.” We get a glimpse of Hazel using her powers to traverse as well as against enemies in the gameplay trailer.

South of Midnight: Release window, gameplay and everything we know

Hazel’s Weaving powers will obviously be key, but one thing Compulsion seems to be leaning towards is the idea of ​​Hazel as world repair. “From top to bottom, that’s the message behind Hazel, her combat design, her powers… It’s all a Weaving metaphor — Weavers are supposed to fix things, do good in the world,” Sears says in a recent Xbox Wire interview . “She’s literally repairing the tapestry, and with the creatures – including the Haints – we spent a good amount of time making sure it’s clear that when you attack or interact, you’re doing it in a non-lethal but aggressive way. You’re doing it because you’re helping — taking away the weight of all this trauma.” You can also see the physical side of this in the gameplay trailer (listed below) when flowers and greenery sprout after Hazel is confronted by an enemy.

List of South of Midnight achievements

We don’t have any South of Midnight achievements yet, but we’ll be sure to update here once we do.

South of Midnight trailer

So far, we’ve had the initial announcement trailer for South of Midnight, which did a great job of showcasing its atmospheric feel:
Then we recently got the Gameplay Reveal trailer for Xbox Games Showcase 2024. This was a longer look at the game, with over four minutes of Hazel (and her Catfish companion) adventure.

South of Midnight is one of our most anticipated upcoming Xbox franchises, and we’ll be sure to keep this review updated whenever we learn something new.

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