Netflix’s ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Reality Series Recreates Show’s Savage Contests

The Netflix K-drama thriller Squid Game was all the buzz in 2021. It was no surprise when the streaming giant decided to ride the bandwagon, setting out to recreate their own reality competition show inspired by the series with controversy in tow. This time, curious viewers can get a first look at Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge.

The trailer shows almost identical sets of Squid Game’s iconic scenes such as the Red-Light, Green-Light barley field façad and the M.C. Escher-esque staircases. The trailer also showcased the hallmarks of any typical Western reality competition show: contestant politics peppered with interview snippets in between.

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The show will feature 456 participants vying for the grand prize of US$4.56 million as they play childhood games that are similar to the famous K-drama series. According to Netflix, those who fail will “go home empty-handed.” So what’s the worst that can happen to the contestants?

Squid Game: The Challenge First Look

While players get to go home alive after being eliminated, there were allegations that participants were “treated like animals” and “tortured” (via THR). Contestants revealed that they had to “stand motionless for hours” in Britain’s freezing weather while filming scenes for the Red Light-Green Light game.

Some of them allegedly couldn’t move their feet, not because they were subjected to the rules of the game (although, they partly were), but because their feet were too cold. Contestants even went as far as to claim that some of them were “carried away by stretcher” or “crawling by the end [of the production day]”.

Squid Game: The Challenge First Look Controversy

In response, Netflix denied that contestants were treated poorly, claiming that the injuries cited were untrue and that participants were well aware of the conditions on set. They also claimed that precautions have been taken to keep the games “safe and fair”. 

Regardless, allegations like these can also be a marketing ploy to generate buzz for a show. That said, is Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge as controversial and cruel to its contestants as we might think? We can all decide for ourselves when all 10 episodes stream on Netflix on 22 November this year.