Netflix Asia executive Minyoung Kim says a Squid Game videogame is being considered, THR reports. Can’t say I’m shocked, since Netflix says Squid Game is on the way to being its most-watched show ever, beating The Witcher’s reported viewership of 76 million.
Kim spoke with THR about the runaway success of Squid Game, the Korean battle royale drama that follows a group of debt-ridden social outcasts who sign away their lives to participate in a giant competition for the equivalent of about $39 million USD. The catch is that anyone who fails a challenge is immediately killed, usually by a casually administered headshot courtesy of the masked guards working for the shadowy organization running the whole show.
Kim said that Netflix is currently looking at what comes next for the Squid Game IP. The streaming giant is looking at a potential videogame adaptation plus “consumer products,” a fancy word for merchandise. Netflix and Squid Game’s director and producer are still in talks about a season 2, but Kim tempered expectations by reminding fans that the show only launched a month ago.
A number of PC Gamer’s crew have already finished Squid Game’s first season. Tyler praised it in his review, and I similarly found it a surprisingly emotional and poignant journey. The series explores a familiar theme—trying to get by in a capitalist hellscape—and the contrast between its tragic character arcs and the cold indifference of each kill stands out even in a media landscape that isn’t exactly short on depictions of extreme violence.
Kim didn’t provide any speculation on what a game adaptation of Squid Game might look like. The show itself pits characters against one another (and occasionally teamed together) in colorful, surreal contests typically based on Korean kids games. When the show launched and its masked guards caught everyone’s eye, a frequent comparison was Mediatonic’s Fall Guys, where cartoony humanoids charge through obstacle courses or get knocked off platforms to their doom.
The battle royale genre, which most directly stems from Koushun Takami’s 1999 novel Battle Royale and the movies that followed, has already seen immense popularity in videogames thanks to the likes of PUBG and Fortnite. Considering so much of Squid Game relies on emotionally-charged drama between competitors, the bonds they make and break, and the layers of mystery behind the competition itself, it’ll be interesting to see how Netflix adapts it into a game you’d ostensibly want to play again and again.
It’s not a sure thing that Netflix will commission a Squid Game game at all, of course, but I’d bet that we’re not making it through the end of the year without some CEO saying the phrase “Squid Game metaverse.”
Netflix made another connection to games this week when co-CEO Ted Sarandos used the notion of videogame violence in an unconvincing defense of Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special.