New South of Midnight trailer lives up to the southern folklore tag

And it looks brilliant
Compulsion Games

Compulsion, the makers of We Happy Few, showcased a new South of Midnight trailer during the Xbox Games Showcase and highlighted the action game's southern folklore roots. When I first saw South of Midnight in 2023, I cynically wondered if “southern folklore” just meant setting it in a bayou and calling it a day, but I’m pleased to say it looks like I was very wrong.

Hazel, the hero of the story, is looking for her mother after a category five hurricane blows through their home, and she also happened to gain the power to manipulate the very threads of the universe. Not that the universe itself is behaving normally. Reality seems to be unraveling, and Hazel finds herself face-to-face with creatures from myth and legend, including Two-Toed Tom, a giant, blind crocodile, and Catfish, who is… well, a catfish. A big one. Who talks.

Thankfully, Catfish is nice and has no interest in devouring Hazel, unlike Tom, but the croc isn’t her only worry. South of Midnight is full of Haints – the southern American version of ghosts and ghouls – and other monstrous creatures born from tainted psychic energy flowing through the bayou. Hazel’s weaving powers let her pick at that energy until she can unravel it and send the Haint, or whatever else it is, into the void to restore balance in the world.

“Everything is a Weaving metaphor,” creative director David Sears said in an interview with Xbox Wire. “Weavers are supposed to put things right, do good in the world. She’s literally repairing the tapestry, and with creatures – Haints included – we spent a good amount of time making sure it was clear that when you’re attacking or interacting, you’re doing it in a non-lethal but aggressive way. You’re doing it because you’re helping – removing the weight of all this trauma.”

The bayou is just one part of Hazel’s world. Compulsion said South of Midnight spans several chapters, each with a unique biome inspired by the landscapes of the American south. South of Midnight’s narrative is linear, but the team created expansive areas with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in each chapter, all of which get increasingly more folktale-ish as Hazel gets closer to the core of her world’s problems.

South of Midnight still doesn’t have a release date, but Compulsion expects to launch it sometime in 2025.

If you're after more new game announcements, check out our Summer Game Fest roundup and all the games shown off during Day of the Devs2024.

Josh Broadwell