New Netflix K-Drama Series 'The Squid Game' Sees Hundreds Compete in Deadly Survival Game

New Netflix original K-drama series The Squid Game sees hundreds battle it out in a survival game, with losers facing deadly consequences while one wins a prize worth around $39 million.

The mystery thriller, released on September 17, sees 456 cash-strapped people, from a recently unemployed divorcee to a North Korean defector, each be given a mysterious business card that ultimately offers them a chance to win 46.5 billion Korean won in a series of survival games.

The Squid Game is a real-life street game played by Koreans in their childhood, including the series' director Hwang Dong-hyuk, who recalled it was the most competitive of the games he'd played as a child and is most symbolic of the "modern competitive society" we live in, South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo reported on Thursday.

The game, which entails two people physically combating each other but within the lines of a squid image drawn on the ground, is one of six games the participants will be thrust into playing.

The game's backdrop of quiet classical music in a set designed with bright colors conjures a nostalgic childhood feel.

A still from "The Squid Game"
A still from the new Netflix K-drama series "The Squid Game." Netflix

But the deceivingly innocent, peaceful atmosphere is contrasted by the eerie masked organizers of the game who monitor the participants' every move, with anyone deviating from the rules of the game being met by death.

The participants are seen in striking attire, each wearing identical green tracksuits, while each of the game managers sport a hot pink tracksuit and a black mask with a shape symbol on it.

Director Hwang told Cine21, a South Korean film magazine, on Thursday: "We paid attention to the contrast of colors because both groups wear team uniforms. The wearing of uniform clothes in the same color was meant symbolize the erasing individuality and personality."

At a press conference in South Korea, the director said the show's survival game concept points to the "irony that the capitalist society we all live in, which was created to allow us all to eat well and live well, rather destroys the essence and humanity of human beings," South Korea's Hankook Ilbo reported on Wednesday.

A still from "The Squid Game".
A still from the new Netflix K-drama series "The Squid Game." Netflix

He hopes the series will push viewers to ask themselves: "Why do we risk our lives to compete with each other? Where did the competition begin and where is it going?," the Donga Ilbo reported on Thursday.

The series features a star-studded cast including Lee Jung-jae, one of South Korea's most famous actors known from various Korean films and dramas, who plays one of the game participants.

It also stars Park Hae-soo, the actor from the Netflix film Time to Hunt, which was the first Korean film to be featured as a special gala screening at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival.

The Squid Game will also feature a special appearance by Gong Yoo, the actor known for various K-dramas and films, such as Train to Busan, which featured at Cannes, along with its sequel Peninsula.

The Squid Game arrives on Netflix on September 17.

A still from "The Squid Game".
A still from the new K-drama Netflix series "The Squid Game." Netflix