Sony’s first-party franchise, Uncharted, is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed video game properties in the industry. There’s been plenty of speculation surrounding the possible appearance of an Uncharted announcement at this year’s Spike TV Video Game Awards.

Now, we have official confirmation of the title, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – which will debut, as suspected, at the VGAs.

Hot on the heels of the disappointing news that Mark Wahlberg would be starring in David O’Russell’s Uncharted film, Entertainment Weekly has some tantalizing, and encouraging news for fans of globe-trotting, fortune hunter, Nathan Drake – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is scheduled for release “late next year.”

Despite the parallels between Drake’s Deception and the previously rumored World of Deceit title, it’s important to remember that Naughty Dog previously debunked the notion that Albert Ng, the World of Deceit artist, is working on the upcoming sequel. Certainly an intriguing coincidence but, considering Uncharted 1 and 2 both featured plenty of back-stabbing – it probably wasn’t too much of a stretch to assume the third game would follow a similar pedigree.

Check out the teaser below:

So what can fans expect from Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception?

Much like the Amazon jungle and Tibetan mountaintops before it, the new story will take players to the Rub’ al Khali Desert, aka the Empty Quarter, in the Arabian Peninsula – an enormous, and uninhabited, sand desert with plenty of legendary mythos for the game designers to draw from.

uncharted 3 drakes deception empty quarter

The Uncharted series is known for its incredible character-drama, and Drake’s Deception doesn’t sound like it’ll disappoint. According to EW, the title will explore a “mysterious deception about Drake’s very identity” as well as focus on Drake’s partner in crime, Victor “Sully” Sullivan. Lawrence of Arabia, aka T.E. Lawrence, will factor heavily into the plot – focusing on the famed Colonel’s earlier days working as an archaeologist.

If you’re concerned that the story-driven production will translate into less-than-stellar gameplay, think again. Amy Hennig, Naughty Dog’s creative director, is assuring fans that the story was actually built around the primary inspiration for the title – designing an action game in a desert locale:

“When we first came up with the idea of sand, you see everyone’s eyes light up here and go, ‘Yeah, that’s going to be really hard – let’s do it!’”

Evan Wells, Naughty Dog co-president, was equally enthusiastic, laying out a design perspective that, many gamers can agree, makes Naughty Dog games so great :

“We’re a bunch of nerds. We just look for something that will be a technical, artistic challenge, and allowed us to push into an area of the world and history we’ve never tapped into before.”

uncharted 3 drakes deception village

In addition to pushing the boundaries of the PS3 hardware, Drake’s Deception will also feature new technologies such as more precise motion-capture work as well as new gameplay enhancements including “enhanced backward climbing and the ability to fight multiple baddies at once.” Wells also promises a more robust multiplayer experience – both competitive and co-op.

“We want to take on the big boys of the multi-player genre. It has become something here at Naughty Dog that will become an important part to all our games.”

We’ll have more on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception after the trailer premieres this Sunday at the VGAs.

What would you like to see Naughty Dog add in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception? What do you think of the Arabian setting?

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is tentatively scheduled for release in late 2011.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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