Asymmetric multiplayer horror game Evil Dead came out on May 13, a thematically appropriate Friday the 13th. In the first five days after its release, as mentioned in the full year report of the Embracer Group, which owns developer Saber Interactive, and @EmbracerInvestor on Twitter, Evil Dead sold over 500,000 copies.
Originally scheduled for a 2021 release, Evil Dead: The Game was first delayed to February 2022 for polish and to add singleplayer, then again to May. As Saber said at the time, “This delay gives our team the time they need to get things just right, so your boomstick will be polished, fully loaded, and ready to blast Deadites on that Friday the 13th of May.” It seems to have paid off, and Evil Dead has been better-received than Saber Interactive’s previous licensed co-op zombie shooter, World War Z.
While four players—who can be characters from across the movie series and TV show or just different versions of Ash—co-operate to achieve their objectives, a fifth player hunts them as a demon. (Any of the roles can also be filled by AI.) The more spooked the survivors are, the more susceptible they are to the demon’s attacks, which include possessing one of them to attack the rest.
Our own Chris Livingston played Evil Dead recently, and said, “The survivors have a surprising amount of power which makes it more than just a game of hide-and-seek, and the demons have a lot of fun tricks up their rotting sleeves. The nature of the objectives challenge players to move quickly at times and stand their ground at others, and the advantage seems to swing back and forth between sides a few times in each match, so both the survivors and the demon can experience moments of triumph and feelings of panic.”
Being a multi-platform multiplayer game with crossplay has certainly helped Evil Dead sell, but it does seem like people are having fun with it. The thought of a bunch of different Ashes, all voiced by Bruce Campbell and running around together with boomsticks and chainsaws, has a definite appeal.