Unraveling the Magic: Exploring "South of Midnight" in MICROSOFT's Latest Reveal

In the olden, pre-digital gaming days, boyscouts would hold Father Flanagan circles telling stories about the days of Gothic Knights, dark dungeons and dragons. Now, in the glory days of spectacular dream machines, people play action-adventure games that transport them to the realms of unimaginable shadow and magical mystery. South of Midnight, the next stunning game by Compulsion Games (the creators behind Contrast and We Happy Few), is sold to gamers by Microsoft with the message: ‘Action-adventure games will never be the same again.’ It is due for release in 2025. Introducing South of Midnight, the next breathless installment in the third-person action-adventure by Compulsion Games … coming to a dream machine near you in 2025.

Coming to a Screen Near You: "South of Midnight"

Inspired by the captivating sagas of the American Deep South, South of Midnight follows Hazel as she investigates the ghostly secrets of her hometown through the genteel art of Weaving. Players will journey through a rich tapestry of story, folklore, mystery and magic when the game debuts on Xbox Series X|S (including Xbox Game Pass) and Windows PC (including PC Game Pass) via Steam.

A Tale of Weaving and Wonder

Hazel’s story is not simply an ‘adventure’. She is, in a way, ‘blessed’ by possessing the ability to mend connections between people and objects that are broken or otherwise suffering. In fact, Hazel’s search is far more important than either adventure is in the ordinary sense: she is looking for ways of belonging and repair in a world that is coming apart. The trailer shown in the Xbox Showcase told players how a richly dangerous world of fairytale Southern landscapes would present itself through play.

Companion by Her Side: Introducing Catfish

With Catfish by her side, and magic in her fingertips, what we saw in that gameplay demo is the promise of a story that feels as deep as it does broad. One that delves into questions of home, and what it means to belong there, and how to fight against the rot that creeps in.

Combat, Creativity, and the Craft of Weaving

The fighting and climbing mechanics that you see on display here are shaped by the setting and the magical powers Hazel has at her disposal: Weaving lets you manipulate your surroundings, fight enemies, and uncover the hidden past of a darkly beautiful Deep South. Compulsion Games have lived up to their name with this one – the creativity here is going to shine throughout the gameplay.

Crafting a World with MICROSOFT

Many of those elements – the courage to imagine, the embrace of a less-than-polished aesthetic – are a testament to the dreamers on the Compulsion Games team, and the resources of Microsoft, who apparently think this game is worth backing to the tune of millions. The alligator trip to the ghost town in Mississippi represents the detail-minded commitment to realism and depth inherent in South of Midnight.

The Magic Behind the Screens

Inspired by southern gothic aesthetics and the power of feminine crafts, its focus on beauty, repair and the restorative narrative of weaving is resonant and affective throughout. The philosophy of ‘weaving’ that underlies making amends and making change is central to gameplay. It also functions as a means of imboding the player with a narrative of agency, intent, repair and magic. In this way, it gifts players not just a game, but a story.

A Preview of the Future

One can only hope that by 2025, ‘South of Midnight’ will also exemplify where MICROSOFT is headed as a provider of story-driven experiences, taking its North American obsession with action-adventure gaming to the global south and adding its own distinct, grounded commentary on the world – through magic, folklore and the ties that bind us to people and place.


Yet at the centre of that extraordinary reveal is Microsoft – the dominant tech company of a generation, now breaking new ground in gaming with Xbox. Through alliance, technology and ambition – an ambition to make games different – Microsoft again asks for the lead role in your entertainment future. South of Midnight isn’t just a technical demo for Microsoft; it’s a debut for storytelling.

As digital entertainment and gameplay progresses, ‘South of Midnight’, and Microsoft’s foray in fiction and publishing, demonstrates that Microsoft is continuing to lead the way, creating new worlds and sharing unique gaming experiences that players have not yet seen. We will see you on the other side. South of Midnight, the book, is out on 13 July. This story was funded by Microsoft.

Jun 10, 2024
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