The first teaser trailer for Netflix's Squid Game-inspired game show is here, and fans have some thoughts.
Squid Game: The Challenge debuts on Nov. 22 and features a prize pool of $4.56 million. Based on the wildly popular Korean show, it'll feature recreations of some of the most famous set pipeces from Squid Game—hopefully with significantly less death involved. A total of 456 contestants competed in the series, which is sort of like Takeshi's Castle if it were more dystopian.
The absurdity of the reality series' existence is not lost on fans of the show, who shared reactions on X (formerly Twitter) following the release of the teaser. Squid Game was conceived as a story directly addressing the extreme class disparity in South Korea—which is a relatable concept for many in the West, too—and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk's own struggles with money. At no point does the show suggest that a real event of deadly games with a monetary reward for those who live would actually be good.
However, The Challenge is real. The stakes are considerably lower, but a real-world version of a fictional game show that was fundamentally about the idea of the lower class being utilized for entertainment by putting themselves in harm's way still doesn't sit right with some fans. "Ah yes, the lesson of Squid Game: it's good and we should do a real squid game," one person succinctly surmised.
Squid Game: The Challenge has faced a number of production hiccups in the lead-up to its premiere. As Deadline reported earlier this year, the game faced an independent safety assessment after contestants required medical attention during filming. A cold snap impacting Britain, where it was filmed, subjected some of the contestants to "inhumane" conditions including freezing temperatures. Others complained of injuries including a herniated disc and a torn knee.
An extensive Rolling Stone report included a testimony from one former contestant detailing a particularly disturbing incident. "People were beating themselves up, including myself, around the fact that you’ve got a girl convulsing and we’re all stood there like statues," said the source, who suggested many were afraid of being eliminated for intervening. "On what planet is that even humane?"
Others also said that they felt the game was "rigged."
To add further salt to the wound, Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk reportedly "forfeited all intellectual property rights and received no residuals" for his contribution to the show, which has provided Netflix with almost $1 billion in profits. Perhaps the streamer wants to see him compete in the next season of The Challenge.