For nearly five years, Compulsion Games has been brewing something special, and at last, we now have a sneak peek of its upcoming game, South of Midnight, which the Canadian developer behind Contrast and We Happy Few unveiled at the Xbox Showcase.
South of Midnight, a third-person action-adventure game, was revealed with a visually stunning two and a half-minute cinematic trailer. Immersed in the rich ambiance of the American Deep South with a mystical element, the game appears to channel the unique magic often associated with indie productions.
The trailer opens with a remarkably large and strange-looking musician known as Shakin’ Bones skillfully strumming his guitar while the catchy blues rendition "Death Don’t Have No Mercy" reverberates through the nighttime bayou backdrop, luring an array of creatures.
During this sequence, a young black woman named Hazel materializes. Seemingly familiar with Shaky Bones, she requests a favor owed to her: the knowledge of the whereabouts of a massive, sneaky creature armed with teeth-like knives. Like clockwork, the creature she seeks emerges from the shadows, poised to ambush her, but Hazel arms herself in defense with a magical spell.
Speaking on the decision to feature a Black woman as the protagonist in the game, James Lewis, Creative Specialist at Compulsion Games, stated:
I think seeing a Black woman as a protagonist, unfortunately, is still pretty unique for video games, especially of this scope.
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. The approach to this had to start by having just proper representation on the team, ensuring that we had Black women and women of color on our narrative team is key for understanding and writing Hazel’s voice.
While an exact release date or window has yet to be revealed, it has been confirmed that South of Midnight will be coming to PC and Xbox Series X/S, and it will also be added to Xbox Games Pass on launch.