Stealth game expectations

When I say “Stealth game”, what sort of actions, content and gameplay do you expect?

When our team decided on making a stealth game, I worried if we were treading too-familiar ground. I have some very strong opinions about what makes for great stealth and I have some clear favourites within the genre. At this point, I’m fairly comfortable that we’re pushing enough new territory. Indie games should be experimental, that’s to our advantage. It’s also the natural conclusion of making what I want. Still, at times I worry about player expectations.

So while we’re still in the middle of prototyping essential gameplay, I’m asking the question above.

I’m not asking about any new features you think would be cool, but from any existing games within the stealth genre, what do you enjoy and expect? Or more importantly, what do you assume will be in a stealth game? What are the core features you consider essential?

One example where our game may challenge some assumptions is on the nature of combat (or the lack thereof).