‘Game On!’ New Xbox Game Breaks Barriers With Black Female Lead Character

The latest video game from developer Compulsion Games has a Black woman named Hazel as a lead character and was inspired by Black women.

South of Midnight was revealed at the Xbox Showcase on June 11, and the lead, Hazel, is already the hot topic. The YouTube trailer shows fans what looks like a mystical swamp as a mysterious character sings the blues. Hazel appears, showing her tough personality, which Xbox describes as “outwardly confident, wisecracking, and actively on the hunt.”

With much hype surrounding the game, South of Midnight is a “fantastical and macabre third-person action-adventure set in the American Deep South.” Creative director David Sears says the South is often underrepresented and feels the game is somewhat of a love letter to it. “The South is a sultry, sexy, mysterious place that has not been in a lot of games,” Sears said. “Any amount of wandering in the country is going to lead you to speculate that there might be more than what you’ve been led to believe.”

Sears and narrative producer and creative specialist James Lewis created the game with inspiration from abandoned Mississippi lands. Hazel is the heroine protector of the fictional town of Prospero. As there is limited representation of Black women in the video game industry, both Sears and Lewis felt Hazel’s story opened an opportunity to normalize Black women leads. “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.”

The game announcement was met with a lot of praise on social media, highlighting the importance of a Black lead in a video game, according to 21 Ninety. “The importance of this will go over the heads of so many, but @CompulsionGames thank you for exercising due diligence on Hazel for South of Midnight,” one Twitter user wrote.

South of Midnight will be released on Xbox Series X/S, Steam, and day one on Game Pass; however, a date has yet to be announced.