Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period. Its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians and later the Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 CE, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages.
With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State. The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars.
In 1946 it became a single-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria's transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.
The development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997, during the English localization process of Final Fantasy VII. It was produced by Shinji Hashimoto, and directed by Yoshinori Kitase. The music was scored by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, and in a series first a vocal piece was written as the game's theme, "Eyes on Me", performed by Faye Wong.
The game was positively received by critics, who praised the originality and scope of the game. It was voted the 22nd-best game of all time in 2006 by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu. The game was a commercial success; thirteen weeks after its release,