In less than a month, Netflix’s dystopian thriller Squid Game has officially become a cultural phenomenon, with record viewers on the streaming platform.

The success was a surprise to the hyper-violent show’s creator, Hwang Dong-Hyuk. But he tells Good Morning America he always envisioned the global appeal of the show.

“If you look at the cast of characters, you have the elite member of society, Sang-woo. You have the…middle-class man, Gi-hun. You have the migrant worker, Ali…and you have Il-nam, who…represents the senior class,” he said. “…I think they constitute the minority in any country in the world.”

Dong-Hyuk was 38 and broke — and living off his mom, like the show’s main character Gi-hun — when he wrote Squid Game more than 10 years ago.

“The first game — was the most difficult and scary thing to film,” recalls the creator. It was a grown-up version of the kid’s activity “Red Light/Green Light” — except the penalty for moving is death. “It was like seeing 456 characters all move according to choreography, like watching a K-Pop band, because all these people had to move and stop in unison,” Hwang says.

Squid Game has reached #1 in 94 countries and has been translated into over 30 languages, but Dong-Hyuk pleaded, “please, please watch the subtitle” version.  “Because if you don’t see — the acting, the performance from the real actor…You’re missing — most of [the] Squid Game fun.”

For a second season, Dong-Hyuk’s gotten inspiration from many fans, thanks to their own Squid Game challenges on social media.

“Some of them [were] really brilliant, you know?” he said. “So maybe I’ll go through…YouTube again…Then I’ll steal the ideas from the fans,” he added with a laugh.

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