South of Midnight: Everything we know so far

South of Midnight screenshot showing a young woman with two braids staring to the side, her expression stern
(Image credit: Compulsion Games)

We're ready to explore South of Midnight in all its spooky folklore-infused glory. Officially announced during the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, we're still thinking about it one year later as we look ahead to all the new games for 2024 and beyond that lie ahead. The announcement trailer for Compulsion Games' upcoming adventure gave us our first little snippets of the world setting and story, but a substantial gameplay trailer revealed at Xbox Games Showcase 2024 has us more excited than ever to explore all the magic of the Deep South when the game launches in 2025.

Said to take place in a magic realist version of the American South, the trailers do well to establish the tone, with some fantastical elements thrown in for good measure. Follow that up with punchy third-person combat and exploration, and it's certainly shaping up to be among the most intriguing upcoming Xbox Series games to keep on your radar. For now, read on below as we take you through everything we know so far about South of Midnight.

Recent updates

This South of Midnight hub was updated on June 10, adding the new gameplay trailer following its reveal at the Xbox Games Showcase 2024.

South of Midnight release date  

South of Midnight gameplay

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

South of Midnight has been given a release window of 2025, as of June 9 2024 when a gameplay trailer was revealed as part of this year's Summer Game Fest weekend. Vague as this estimation might be, though, it puts the game among the likes of GTA 6  on the stacked list of new games coming in 2025, which is cause enough to celebrate.

South of Midnight platforms  

South of Midnight gameplay

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Compulsion Games is among the developers that are a part of Xbox Game Studios. As such, South of Midnight is an Xbox exclusive set to come to Xbox Series X and PC. The new adventure will also be coming to PC via Steam and Xbox Game Pass

South of Midnight trailer

South of Midnight | Official Gameplay Trailer - YouTube South of Midnight | Official Gameplay Trailer - YouTube
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The most recent South of Midnight trailer, shown above, gives us a taste of what to expect from its gameplay and combat. We see Hazel marvelling at a gigantic gator named Two-Toed Tom, wielding magical abilities to fly, jump, and deal damage to another brute after soaring across the swampy bayou. The world changes around her as she flies across a body of water to confront a brute foe, seamlessly transitioning into a cinematic cutscene that shows off South of Midnight's gorgeous claymation-esque art style in full force – courtesy of Unreal Engine 5.

It seems we'll also have melee weapons at our disposal, the trailer depicting Hazel dual-wielding a set of silver blades to hack and slash the enemy between dodges and dashes as she evades its attacks. Her finisher move is to "unravel" the brute after whittling down its health bar, reinforcing the concept of magical threads that Hazel weaves to fuel her magical abilities and alter the world around her, revealing a beautiful flowery meadow in place of the barren earth she once stood on.

South of Midnight story 

South of Midnight gameplay

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

South of Midnight's story sees protagonist Hazel searching for her mother, meeting all manner of folklore creatures come to life as she navigates the mysterious American South. The first trailer introduces us to a figure known as Shakin' Bones strumming away at a guitar. Hazel then asks about a big creature, before using magic. Following the trailer reveal, Xbox published an interview with creative director David Sears and narrative producer and creative specialist James Lewis, which shed more light on the story of South of Midnight. Hazel, who is the heroine of the adventure, is said to be on a quest to repair a broken world by putting a stop to supernatural creatures who are all based on real-life folklore. 

South of Midnight protagonist  

Compulsion Games South of Midnight screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

In South of Midnight, we'll be following the story of Hazel, who's said to have taken on the role of protector. Described as "outwardly confident and wisecracking", Hazel has a complex relationship with her mother and has grown up experiencing multiple failures and societal injustice. 

"To tell the story of a Black woman in this setting creates another level of complexity that the team had to meet with curiosity and empathy," Lewis says in the Xbox interview. "The approach to this had to start by having just proper representation on the team, ensuring that we have Black women and women of colour on our narrative team is key for understanding and writing Hazel's voice." 

For Sears, Hazel stands out because she has "many of the same issues as real people have", which is "refreshing as she's trying to learn to be a hero". As Sears adds, the story follows her as she finds her footing and heads out into the world to help make it "a better place". 

South of Midnight setting  

Compulsion Games South of Midnight screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Set in a town called Prospero and based on the American South and all its colorful folklore, South of the Midnight is inspired by different genres of literature including Southern Gothic and Magic realism. With the adventure said to take place in rural areas, the world setting aims to be an honest reflection of the real-life region, with a decent sprinkle of magic to bring its storybook ambience to life.

South of Midnight magic  

South of Midnight

(Image credit: Compulsion Games)

As we saw in the trailer, South of Midnight will be an adventure involving magic and fantastical elements. Hazel, for example, is a Weaver who uses what's known as Weaving magic. Used for both combat and traversal, Weavers are said to be figures who can "see how the universe is constructed". Her conversations with Catfish in the gameplay trailer clues us in to one narrative thread: Hazel's hunt for her lost mother, affectionately named Ma.

We expect there's more to the story than just this, or at the very least, that Hazel will run into much more than she bargained for on this noble quest to free her mother and banish the evil seeping through Prospero.

Check out all the upcoming PC games to watch for in 2024 and beyond, from South of Midnight to Fable 4.

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good. 

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