South of Midnight Official Gameplay Reveal | Xbox Games Showcase 2024

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South of Midnight: How the First Gameplay Trailer Hints at the Magic to Come. Compulsion likes to do things differently, and South of Midnight is a shining example of just how far they’ll take that philosophy. This hauntingly gorgeous Deep South folktale is an action-adventure, with a unique identity that only this studio could have woven together.

In the first-ever gameplay trailer, revealed today at the Xbox Games Showcase, we got a glimpse of just why that is. The 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. In this case, we meet 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 we see her using a variety of Weaving powers to bypass obstacles – until she meets a Haint.

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. In practice, we see a combat sequence, Hazel using 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. And here’s the key – as the Haint is yanked back out of reality, we see flowers bloom around Hazel. She hasn’t killed something – she’s fixed what was broken. That’s a clear message – South of Midnight, like Hazel herself, is doing things differently.

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