Netflix Teases ‘Squid Game’ Reality Competition Show With Largest Cash Prize In History

Squid Game Netflix
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Netflix is banking on turning the popular Korean survival drama “Squid Game” into a competition show with a huge cash prize, the streaming service recently announced.

The company describes “Squid Game: The Challenge” as “the biggest reality competition series ever created,” with 456 contestants battling for $4.56 million in prize money.

A press release for the project confirmed that this is the largest prize in competition show history. It’s unclear how the money will be distributed if there are multiple winners. “The stakes are high, but in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed,” the company wrote.

“Squid Game took the world by storm with Director Hwang’s captivating story and iconic imagery,” Netflix VP of Unscripted and Documentary Series Brandon Riegg said. “We’re grateful for his support as we turn the fictional world into reality in this massive competition and social experiment.” 

“Fans of the drama series are in for a fascinating and unpredictable journey as our 456 real world contestants navigate the biggest competition series ever, full of tension and twists, with the biggest ever cash prize at the end,” he continued.

The show is casting English speakers over the age of 21 at SquidGameCasting.com. This fact alone is the cause of some controversy on social media as the original “Squid Game” was released in Korea.

The press release also notes that the competition show will include ten episodes and will be filmed in the U.K.

This news comes on the heels of Netflix announcing a second season of the hit drama “Squid Game,” which the press release notes was the company’s most successful series of all time. It boasted more than 1.65 billion view hours in the first 28 days following its premiere in September 2021.

“Squid Game” follows a group of people participating in a contest by that name. They are all experiencing financial hardship and risk their lives to play a series of children’s games for the chance to win around $38 million. The show was criticized for being graphic and violent, but audiences embraced it, as shown by its high viewership and ratings.

Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk said the concept is an allegory of the competitive nature of capitalism. 

He told Variety in 2021, “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life.”

Hwang continued, “As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama. The games portrayed are extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules.”

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