Retro-Inspired FPS “GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead” Now on Steam Early Access

Ghosts in the machine? Shoot them with bullets.

On Thursday, game publisher HYPERSTRANGE released the 90s-inspired FPS GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead via Steam Early Access.

Developed by Daev Team, GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead features old-school arena shooter gameplay and a surrealist, reality-bending “meta-narrative” that explores the meaning of death. (43?)

Players take on the role of Molly, who has been resurrected along with five other souls to take part in a violent, simulated competition thanks to some kind of technology-driven necromancy. Survive the brutal battles and you’ll eventually unravel the mystery behind the simulation.

In the “mature content description”, Daev Team lists “Blood, some gore, convoluted plot.” Hey, at least they’re honest.

Here’s the official breakdown of GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead from HYPERSTRANGE:

If You Respawn In The Game, You Respawn In Real Life

Death is just the beginning for Molly, a die-hard FPS fan. Instead of an eternal slumber, the deceased heroine is trapped in a long-forgotten arena shooter kept running by a mysterious man known only as the Wizard. Alongside an eclectic cast of fellow ghosts, she must spend her afterlife competing in arena FPS matches to sate the Wizard’s old-school gaming nostalgia. But with each victory achieved, the seams of this digitized reality begin to pull apart, exposing secrets about the Wizard, and the world each player left behind.

Combat the other ghostly players in high-octane FPS matches, including classic staples like Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, and King of the Hill. Enter tiered lobbies and compete against Molly’s fellow undead players, wielding an expansive arsenal ranging from double-barrelled shotguns to grenade launchers and the electric railgun, Shocking Truth. Master movement to double jump across maps and slide toward safety among other chaotic fire-fighting techniques. Rack up win-streaks to unlock new challenges and hub locations in a gamified world.

Peel back the layers of an engrossing meta-narrative by returning to completed maps. The Wizard’s efforts to bind Molly to the game world are effective, but the ritual isn’t perfect. Scour maps for forgotten URLs and forum posts and access them via an in-game browser to glean details of what’s happening in the outside world. Search for secrets long enough, and Molly just might just find herself in parts of the game that were never meant for players to access.

Speak with fellow players to make trustworthy allies or undead enemies, opening different story paths, and just maybe, a whole new way to play… Lean into the Wizard’s twisted game world, uncover its secrets, and rewrite the rules of existence by unlocking cheats that can turn the tide of Molly’s fate. Take a breather from the story and jump into a robust arcade mode with a host of in-game options and exclusive maps for endless replayability.

GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead is now available on PC via Steam Early Access.

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