Squid Game: The Challenge – Is the Reality Show Real or Scripted?

By Louie Fecou
Published: November 22, 2023 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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Is Squid Game: The Challenge real or scripted?
Squid Game: The Challenge | Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Squid Game was a real hit for streaming platform Netflix when it first appeared and captured the imagination of viewers globally, becoming a massive phenomenon and leaving fans eager for a second season. The premise of the show — four hundred and fifty-six players take part in a dangerous contest, all desperate due to their financial situation to win a massive cash prize — was always going to end up with a real-life version, and Squid Game: The Challenge released in November 2023, following the show’s concepts as closely as it could. But how closely? To what extent is the show “real” or scripted for dramatic effect? We took a closer look at the reality series to answer some of these most essential questions.

The real-life version of the game also features four hundred and fifty-six people taking part in versions of the games that the fictional players had to participate in, and thankfully the reality show manages to avoid murdering the players taking part, although, by the sound of things, there was a point during the filming where they did seem to give it a darn good go.

Is Squid Game: The Challenge Real or Scripted?

Squid Game: The Challenge is not scripted and follows the usual tropes that you would expect from reality game shows. Executive producer Stephen Lambert would say in an interview,

Squid Game was not only an immensely popular scripted show about a game, but it was also a game that you could put real people in to play. It was almost inviting this unscripted series to be made.”

So that pretty much confirmed that the show was always going to be a reality-based game show that would not be scripted. The sheer number of participants would make the show’s production a very difficult process, and although there is a format that mimics the real show, the participants are not scripted and the outcome of the games is not pre-determined.

The animatronic doll from the game Red Light, Green Light

The animatronic doll from the game Red Light, Green Light, recreated for Squid: Game the challenge using a 3D printer | Image via Netflix

Squid Game: The Challenge pretty much recreates the games that the series used, but of course, in the reality show, they do not kill the participants who fail in the challenge. The game show also uses the same number of players, four hundred and fifty-six, as the TV show did, and also offers a huge amount of money to the player that makes it to the end.

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The game show also emulates the sets and conditions of the players in the series and has players moving through dorms to corridors to the game, just like they do in the series. The sinister masked guards are also there, and in the first game, the giant and bizarre children’s doll with the rotating head is also recreated for the game show. It was created with a 3-D printer.

The game show also introduces the concept of allowing players to vote other players off, adding to the drama of the show, and the giant see-through bank that fills with money as the game continues was constructed for the show, with a computer graphic completing the illusion of the globe structure slowly increasing in cash.

Who made Squid Game: The Challenge?

Squid Game: The Challenge was filmed in the UK and was a co-production between Studio Lambert and The Garden.

Lambert was the company behind another reality game show called The Circle, and The Garden was behind the documentary series 24 Hours in A&E. Stephen Lambert, Tim Harcourt, and Toni Ireland from Studio Lambert and John Hay, Nicola Hill, and Nicola Brown from The Garden served as executive producers.

How much does the winner of Squid Game: The Challenge get?

The final winner of Squid Game: The Challenge will get a prize pot of 4.56 million dollars. This is the largest prize that has ever been handed out for a reality game show.

Squid Game holds the record as Netflix’s most popular series of all time, with over 1.65 billion view hours in the first 28 days after its September 2021 premiere. The reality TV take is expected but astronomically popular based on this, so it only makes sense that the stakes were raised with such an enormous prize pot.  

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