In regards to whatever the future holds for these devs, I'm sure most people are thinking another game about a licensed slasher hunting people down, like Leatherface or Chucky or even someone like Rusty Nail and his Truck (my pick of slashers). Let's talk about future projects that seem fitting.
I think it would be neat to go with something a little less obvious... so heres one idea:
The killer (or "Evil" as I will call it from now on) starts out as an invisible force with only a set amount of "power" and limited options to mess with the real world. The rules change in every game and only the Evil knows what it is capable of. This could be done with RNG or unlockable abilities (or a combination of both to keep players uneasy). The rare possibility that the Evil is overpowered creates more tension for the victims. The Evil travels around at unpredictable speeds and must torment the victims in order to gain power, and only gains a small amount of power passively in order to ensure it never becomes powerless. You torment them by expending a little power to possess and manipulate objects like books and lamps at first. The more victims in the objects vicinity, the more power gained from tormenting and scaring them (this could encourage victims to separate).
Victims must secure the cabin (or shed) first and then start search for helpful items. The most helpful items tend to spawn in more dangerous places, such as outside in the shed or in the fruit cellar. Victims can find the Necronomicon, pages torn from the book, keys, weapons, and matches among other things throughout the cabin, outside, toolshed and fruit cellar. Ash is the Hero and can only be playable by either sacrificing yourself with a ritual and summoning him from a portal from the past, or may occasionally spawn locked in a cage in the fruit cellar and begging for someone to find the key to let him out (only if a player is dead before entering the Labyrinth). A Labyrinth in the fruit cellar always holds pages or other important items that are necessary to win, while others can be found outside and in the Toolshed. Players win by either burning the Necronomicon and all of its pages (very difficult to get every page in the book), fixing and escaping in car (fewer items, escape sooner but there's a chance the bridge was destroyed before you got there and trees are still a threat), or performing a ritual with fewer items to summon evil in the flesh followed by a time rift (escape sooner but empowers the Evil with a physical form and far more power while a Victim must be kept alive long enough to complete the ritual). As you can imagine, Ash's ability to fight back is a significant help. Reading from individual found pages of the book results in a random effect that can be beneficial or detrimental at varying degrees.
Once the Evil gains enough power through Torment, it can spend that power on possessing things and trying to break in. Possessing the living is cheaper than the dead (especially the dismembered dead) but victims can fight it and "may" be cured by sunlight if the sun hasn't yet gone down. Players don't know where the Evil is unless it is possessing something, it is holding shift to move faster (it makes that loud noise from the movies) or they perform a health depleting ritual to banish it for a short period. Banishing the Evil allows them to repair any breaches until the Evil can break in again. The issue is, the Evil can potentially later enter through any wounds inflicted, forcing those player to cut off a much needed limb (if they have the tool) or be permanently possessed as an NPC until another victim kills them. If the Evil Possesses a victim or dead Body, it may spend more power to transform into something stronger and more Twisted if it survives long enough or torments players (The ED2 and AoD Deadites levitated and twisted into all sort of things, even Gargoyles apparently). Trees can be cheaply possessed or simply animated as NPCs that kill anyone who comes too close and costs very little to possess, but cost a lot of power to move. Additional possessable items can randomly spawn in the cabin or surrounding area (think baby in a jar, dismembered body parts or potted cacti) and may have additional effects such as transformation and attacking rather than simply tormenting. Fake Necronomicons exist and bite players who try to pick them up, for this reason, it's best left for last to avoid getting a hand possessed. If a victim opens the Fruit Cellar Labyrinth, the Evil has the ability to possess and later transform Henrietta and stalk them while they search the confusing corridors. There is a grave outside and saving power to possess the corpse may be the best means of breaking into the cabin.
Potential Easter Eggs:
- Deep in the woods, just out of the Evil's effective range, lies an old ruin where the Kandarian Dagger can be found, which could be used for another possible ending.
- If at full power, possessing the deer head could potentially result in more than Torment since it is technically dead. The deer head has a wide torment range, and if one can possess the deer head and get back the power they lost while still in it, the deer head can transform, resulting in the deer head forcing itself back into the world by climbing out of the wall and wreaking havok in full deer form (Potentially swearing on people as a reference to Drag Me To Hell).
- If the Evil infects Ash's hand, he'll scream "You monsters! Give me back my hand!". Cutting it off and giving Ash the rifle and chainsaw basically turns on Unlimited Ammo and makes the game a lot more difficult for the Evil.
I could go on and on about other Easter Eggs and game mechanics, but I'd love to hear what you guys think and your ideas. I may expand on this later because I just love the idea of a horror game where you don't know the rules and potentially anything could happen, that's the appeal of Evil Dead, in my opinion. One minute you think the Sunlight stops them and they can't possess a corpse if it was already possessed... the next the Evil just decides to reveal it was taunting you with hope the whole time. I also have similar ideas for a John Carpenter's The Thing game that could follow a similar formula, so I may return to talk about that as well.