[Update: Watch the Uncharted 3 trailer here!]

There is no mistaking it: it is a good time to own a PS3. With only two games, Naughty Dog has left behind their Crash Bandicoot roots and shaped what has become one of the top videogame franchises in the world. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves gave a new definition to cinematic gameplay, and all it took was the teasing of a third game to get fans lining up to pre-order. Now that Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is official, a new website has been launched detailing the game’s plot, technical advancements, and the addition of an all-new multiplayer mode.

We already gave you a look at the official teaser to the game, showing off maps of Arabia, ancient runes, and even Seven Pillars of Wisdom– the autobiography of T.E. Lawrence, the real-life Lawrence of Arabia.

We’ll have a closer look at the game at this year’s Spike VGAs, and an even better idea of the game when the developers give a live demo Monday night, but until then there are more than enough details to keep fans entertained.

While Uncharted 2 received overwhelmingly positive praise and more than a few nods as Game of the Year, the developers are clearly aiming even higher with Uncharted 3. The same historical/adventure story that fans know and love will still be front and center, a fact made clear by the website’s official description:

“A search for the fabled “Atlantis of the Sands” propels fortune hunter Nathan Drake on a daring trek into the heart of the Arabian Desert, a journey that pits him and his mentor Victor Sullivan against the occult treachery of a shadowy clandestine organization and its ruthless leader. When the terrible secrets of this lost city are unearthed, Drake’s quest descends into a desperate bid for survival that strains the limits of his endurance and forces him to confront his deepest fears.”

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Screenshot

The developers have spoken about their excitement to take on the challenge of an environment as potentially problematic as a sandy desert, while also adding new elements to both combat and traversal. And yet again, a tear is shed in memory of those who thought they might one day see a photo-realistic Prince of Persia. Oh, well.

What this means to the actual gameplay is that the experience being planned for players will be deeper, more complex, and able to take full advantage of that 3D television you have lying around.

Here are the details for what’s in store, straight from the development team themselves:

  • Signature UNCHARTED gameplay evolves: Nathan Drake can now take on opponents in more ways than before: hand-to-hand combat with multiple opponents, contextual melee attacks, and new stealth options. UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deceptionâ„¢ also features expanded and diverse traversal moves with deeper gunplay.
  • New locations, new challenges, stunning environmental detail: Nathan Drake’s journey will take you to a variety of spectacular locations around the world from Europe to the Middle East.
  • UNCHARTED raises technology bar yet again: UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deceptionâ„¢ features new innovations in sand, fire, smoke, and water dynamics and effects. Full support of high-resolution stereoscopic 3D.

The Uncharted series has become known as one of the few franchises that truly optimize the technical capabilities of the PS3, so any improvement is a welcome one. The truth is that the gameplay and graphics may in fact be second in importance to the protagonist, Nathan Drake. There is no shortage of wise-cracking lead characters, but for some reason Drake’s sense of humor and courage has led him to be seen as one of the 10 characters who defined the last decade.

The images revealed from the Uncharted 3 community site reveal that Drake’s quest for the “Atlantis of the Sands” may begin with his plane crashing in the Arabian desert, leaving him stranded and alone. It’s always interesting to see a beloved character’s creation story, so it would seem that fans of the character himself will also have plenty to look forward to.

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Screenshot Drake

One of the riskiest ventures a successful story-driven franchise has undertaken recently was the addition of an entirely new online multiplayer component to Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. People wondered how Assassin’s Creed’s narrative and traversal-based game would make the transition to multiplayer, but the results prove that it was something fans were missing. Not to be outdone, Naughty Dog will also be expanding upon Uncharted 2‘s multiplayer component with Drake’s Deception, giving a much richer experience that they believe will be one-of-a-kind:

“Competitive and co-op multiplayer return with brand new experiences and massively expanded feature sets. The UNCHARTED universe provides a unique multiplayer experience, for the first time bringing the exciting cinematic elements of the single-player campaign into multiplayer.”

The news at the moment couldn’t be better for Uncharted fans, even if the feature film adaptation ends up as practically unrecognizable to those fond of the series. A new Uncharted game would be good news regardless of details, but the story elements already revealed are undeniably intriguing, especially the teaser trailer’s connections to T.E. Lawrence, a British officer who aided the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks in 1918.

Lawrence’s autobiography is featured prominently in the trailer, along with the authentic cover inscription depicting the ancient truth about life in the desert: “the sword also mean clean-ness + death.” In a landscape that is as deadly as your enemies, your own sword can eventually become your only escape. Apparently, Drake’s Deception may face mortality in a much more significant way than we are used to seeing.

The quote uttered by Drake in the teaser is also of significance, and is taken from Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The quote in its entirety is hard to analyze, but definitely something interesting to see alluded to in the very first trailer for the game:

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.”

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception Screenshot 3

So far all we know for certain is what we have been told and can see from the released images, but it’s already apparent that this game doesn’t look to disappoint. When all the facts and connections are seen together, it’s extremely possible that Uncharted 3 might just be for videogames what Lawrence of Arabia was for cinema.

For more details on this and many other games, be sure to tune in to the Spike VGAs tonight, December 11th for the first official glimpse given by Naughty Dog. Follow it up with a live demo on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Monday night, and you Uncharted fans will have an entire week to dream up the various directions Drake’s Deception can take.

Unfortunately, it will be far longer before we get to play the game for ourselves. Currently, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is scheduled for a Fall 2011 release exclusively on the PS3.

Source: PlayStation.com, UnchartedtheGame.com

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