The entertainment industry has grown into a truly global business in recent years, and Bulgaria has contributed in a way that not everyone is aware. For example, did you know about the films that were shot here and the games that Bulgarian developers developed here? Below are recent publications with ties to Bulgaria that may not be immediately obvious.
Moo Lander and other games created here
There has been talk of Bulgaria becoming a hub for video game development like Poland in the future, and the country certainly has a strong track record of producing interesting, popular games like several titles from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation were all developed by a global Ubisoft development team, including members in Sofia.
The highlight of the year for game developers in the country, Sofia Game Jam Week has garnered significant interest in recent years, with a special November edition being held in 2022 thanks to its success to date. But we have to head to the city of Plovdiv to find The Sixth Hammer, an independent games studio responsible for launching Moo Lander earlier this year. They’ve spent a total of six years developing this game, which is set in outer space, features intergalactic cows and has been a hit since its release in March.
In addition to video games, the casino games market has grown rapidly in recent years and Bulgaria has also played a major role in this growth. In Bulgaria, new games are being worked on for developers such as Evolution, Anakatech and Weiner Games. Additionally, in early 2022, Pragmatic Play announced the opening of a live casino studio in the country, where human dealers will be beamed from the Sofia studio to players around the world while they run games.
If you look at the list of the main operators in New Zealand, big names like Rizk, Casumo and Guts all have live dealers from the top developers, so it’s possible that they all add the new games from Bulgaria to their portfolio. These sites offer free spins to new players with no deposit required, so it’s easy to see why they are growing in size and need new games from new locations. Ezugi is another well-known developer who led the way with a live casino studio in Varna a few years ago, so the country already has experience with this type of work.
Bulgaria is growing as a film location
It is very likely that you will spot Bulgaria in one of this year’s films as it has been used extensively as a filming location, even for films not set here. For example, Prey for the Devil is a film about the increasing number of demonic possessions and stars like Colin Salmon. Jacqueline Byers and Christian Navarro. Released in late October this year, it features Byers in the role of Sister Ann, a nun trained to perform exorcisms. The film was mainly shot at Nu Boyana Film Studios in Sofia in 2020.
Another movie that was filmed here is called the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This is the ninth film in the famous slasher film series, and the storyline takes place decades after the original while still featuring the Leatherface character. Filming was conducted in Bulgaria, with director David Blue Garcia commenting that trying to make it look like Texas was a challenge, and they ended up building a fake city that mimicked West Texas quite well.
Also shot in Bulgaria, Barbarian is a horror thriller that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con in early 2022. Principal filming took place in Sofia with some additional scenes shot in Detroit. Barbarian was something of a surprise hit, although the majority of viewers who saw it probably didn’t realize that they were watching part of Bulgaria most of the time.
These examples show us just some of the ways Bulgaria has been involved in the global entertainment industry in recent times, and it is clear that more is to come in these ways and others.