Netflix’s newest competition series is bringing the world of Squid Game to life.
Inspired by the hit South Korean drama series, Squid Game: The Challenge will see 456 people compete to win the biggest cash prize in reality TV history. Contestants will face off in a series of challenges inspired by the games in Squid Game and the group will be narrowed down until one victor remains.
“People do a whole lot worse for a whole lot less,” one contestant states in the show’s official teaser, released in September 2023.
Squid Game became one of Netflix’s most successful original series following its September 2021 premiere. The show followed Lee Jung-jae’s Seong Gi-hun as he and other people facing financial struggles compete in the deadly Squid Game in hopes of winning 45.6 billion won (approximately $38 million in U.S. dollars).
The series was officially renewed for a second season in June 2022.
Scroll down for everything you need to know about Squid Game: The Challenge:
When Does ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Premiere?
Squid Game: The Challenge dropped its first five episodes on Netflix on November 22, 2023. Four more episodes will be released on November 29 and the finale will air on December 6.
What Is the Amount of ‘Squid Game: The Challenges’ Cash Prize?
The cast of 456 contestants will compete for a total cash prize of $4.56 million. Just like Squid Game, the cash will be displayed in a large piggy bank about the competitor’s living space.
What Games Will Be Featured on ‘Squid Game: The Challenge?’
The show will feature many of the challenges featured in Squid Game, including Red Light, Green Light and Hopscotch. As teased in the series’ official teaser, the competition will also feature new games, including a life-size version of Battleship.
Has a Trailer for ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Been Released?
Netflix dropped its first look at the show in June 2023, which featured a first look at the Pink Soldiers — as featured in the original series — the competitors in their iconic green jumpsuits and several game sets and locations from Squid Game.
The show’s September 2023 teaser trailer (which you can watch above) gave fans a glimpse at the games featured in the series, including the infamous opening game of Red Light, Green Light.
What Are the Controversies Surrounding ‘Squid Game: The Challenge?’
Squid Game: The Challenge was faced with a number of controversies during filming in the U.K. Former contestants accused the series of having poor work conditions and unfair treatment in a bombshell report published by Rolling Stone in February 2023.
“It was just the cruelest, meanest thing I’ve ever been through,” one contestant stated. “We were a human horse race, and they were treating us like horses out in the cold racing and [the race] was fixed.”
Another competitor added: “All the torment and trauma we experienced wasn’t due to the game or the rigor of the game. It was the incompetencies of scale — they bit off more than they could chew.”
Among the many allegations, a group of former players claimed that contestants spent up to nine hours in a freezing airport hangar while filming the Red Light, Green Light game and were sometimes could not move for period of 30 minutes. Medical attention was given to players who could not face the harsh weather conditions.
Netflix later defended the show’s on-set safety in a statement, adding that “any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue.” The statement continued: “We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including after care for contestants – and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.”
Days after the Rolling Stone’s article dropped, it was reported that the series had undergone a safety assessment by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE). “We contacted the programme producers after receiving concerns about their recent filming,” the HSE said in a statement, according to Deadline. “We reviewed the responses from the producers and decided to take no further action. We did stress to them the importance of planning properly for any risks in future filming.”
How Did ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Producers Decide Which Contestants to Highlight?
With more than 400 contestants vying for the grand prize, not everyone could get screen time.
“We broke all the rules,” executive producer Stephen Lambert told Today.com in November 2023. “You’re not meant to have more than 20 players if you want to make a good unscripted show. We had 456. So, I mean, that was an enormous challenge.”
Fellow executive producer John Hay added: “All we could really do was watch the action, see who’s put themselves forward, see who emerged, see who had interesting relationships (and) cover as many people as we could.”
Similar to how other reality TV shows have confessionals, Squid Game: The Challenge contestants spoke directly to cameras in the “processing room.”
“Those interviews were kind of therapy,” Lambert said, noting that the processing room was where players discussed “their lives and their families and their hopes prior to coming into the game.”