02 Nov 2021 2:52 PM +00:00 UTC

Is Squid Game Getting a Video Game Adaption?

On September 17th, 2021 Squid Game dropped on Netflix, then the latest entry in their original programming. Since then, the gritty ‘Korean Hunger Games’ as it’s often popularly known has become Netflix’s most successful show to date, accumulating over 142 million views. Now, many are wondering not just about a second season but what else might be in store for the larger IP. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about a possible Squid Game video game.

Still from Squid Game
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Credit: Netflix

First off, it’s important to understand that Squid Game isn’t a one-off miniseries type of original content drop, or at the very least, Netflix is eager to turn Squid Game into a full-blown franchise. Of course, this includes more seasons of the show. No second season of Squid Game has been confirmed, however.

While there isn’t any kind of official confirmation out there, creator, director, and writer of the show Hwang Dong-hyuk has given interviews where he talks about the possibility of a second season. The show’s first season, according to Dong-hyuk, was written so as to leave the door open for later seasons.

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Plus, Dong-hyuk has gone on record to say that he has ideas for a second season and is in active talks with Netflix about producing it. He does go on to mention, though, that he has a number of other projects he would like to pursue under the Netflix umbrella in addition to more Squid Game.

Point being, considering Squid Game is Netflix’s most popular show that’s outdone even mega-hits like Stranger Things, more Squid Game is likely coming. But more of the show isn’t the only possibility: Video games are also on the table, and not just for Squid Game but for any number of Netflix’s own intellectual properties.

Still from Squid Game
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Credit: Netflix

Back in June 2021, Netflix officially announced plans to venture into the gaming market. In conjunction with the announcement came the news that Netflix hired a former EA executive to lead a new game development division at Netflix as vice president. Perhaps the biggest revelation, though, was that Netflix planned to offer video games on their service as early as 2022.

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With the rise of game streaming services like Microsoft’s xCloud or Sony’s PlayStation Now, it seems that internet speeds and cloud technology have matured enough to make game streaming possible even at modern resolutions and framerates with minimal input lag as compared to how laggy game streaming services of the past have been.

This fact is often juxtaposed with how enormous an industry video games are in the modern day. For example, in 2020 games made more money than movies and North American sports combined, raking in nearly $180 billion dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video games aren’t just popular, they’re rapidly becoming the most popular art form and means of entertainment of the entire 21st century, on the road to outpacing movies, music, sports, books, and everything else combined. When you consider these facts, Netflix’s ambitious and aggressive plans to enter the gaming market make a lot of sense, especially when you realize Netflix already has one of the biggest streaming platforms on the globe.

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Squid Game promotional artwork
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Credit: Netflix

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General plans aside, Netflix has already talked about their specific interest in creating a Squid Game video game. According to Netflix’s Minyoung Kim, the VP of Content for Asia Pacific, Netflix’s new focus on gaming does include Squid Game. While he didn’t confirm any titles were in active development, he talked about how he and his team were looking into expanding the Squid Game IP into new areas, like gaming.

While corporate policy and public demand do line up when it comes to a Squid Game video game, the show itself is a remarkably good candidate for an adaption. Without spoiling too much if you haven’t seen the show yet, Squid Game is quite literally a battle royale Fall Guys hybrid: competitors face off against one another in a desperate struggle to be the last one standing by way of playing silly children’s games.

A Squid Game video game’s pitch almost writes itself: Players compete in a series of gritty and violent yet simultaneously fun, silly, and colorful games for a big pot of what would certainly be virtual currency you could use to customize your character. Party games like Among Us and Fall Guys remain popular, while battle royale games from Warzone to PUBG and everything in-between still attract millions of gamers each month.

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Plus, both battle royale games as well as party games are perfect fits for a free-to-play model, or for perhaps a streaming model where gamers can get access to the game for nothing while a company like Netflix makes its money off an in-game shop where players spend real money on cosmetics.

Squid Game still
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Credit: Netflix

Many don’t love the prevalence of microtransactions in games today, but gamers are generally more okay with the practice if the game itself doesn’t have an upfront cost. If you load up Netflix one day to find a giant ‘Play Squid Game’ button, many will probably be more intrigued and excited than disappointed that with a few more clicks they’ll be brought to a store that sells various cosmetic items.

While this isn’t directly related it goes to show how good of a fit Squid Game is for adaptation: The whole battle royale genre itself took inspiration from another piece of Asian cinema, the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale that saw a group of junior high school students forced to fight to the death by the Japanese government. This film predates Hunger Games as well as the popular battle royale games of today by decades.

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In short, there’s a lot of precedent for interest in this kind of story and this kind of gameplay experience that meshes extremely well not with just Netflix’s larger aspirations as a company but to the actual IP itself. This puts Netflix in a unique position where it can give people something they want and something the market has proved is extremely popular.

Whether or not we’ll actually see a Squid Game game is another story, and even if one ends up in development, it’s unlikely we’d see it for years, i.e. much later than the 2022 window Netflix is generally targeting to start offering games on their platform.

Squid Game still
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Credit: Netflix

Considering how new Netflix is to gaming, their first couple of offerings will have to knock it out of the park, so unless internally they can come up with an awesome concept for a Squid Game game that’s technically feasible on their service, it’s also fair to assume that they might focus their development efforts on more of a sure thing.

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The next couple of years are going to be exciting for Netflix subscribers, however you slice it, so make sure to keep an eye out and stay ready to play some game versions of some of your favorite shows, as inevitably we’re likely to see these kinds of experiences come to Netflix someday.