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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Launches In 2011

UnchartedThose rumors that the next Uncharted title would feature desert settings turns out to be true as Entertainment Weekly of all places has the first solid details on Nathan Drake's next Sony PlayStation 3 adventure, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.  Developer Naughty Dog is sending Drake on a Lawrence of Arabia-inspired quest in search of the Atlantis of the Sands.  I was concerned that a world of sand would make for a lackluster easy-way-out environment to explore, but Naughty Dog's top brass seems to have anticipated my worries.  Here's a quote:

The inspiration for the story, says Hennig, came from Naughty Dog’s desire to take on the challenge of conceiving and building out gameplay scenarios within a desert locale — “challenge,” because organic elements like water, fire and sand are technically difficult to credibly render with animation. Says Hennig: “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!’” Adds Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells: “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.”

With that questionable Uncharted movie also currently in the works and a novel featuring Drake due out next year as well, Naughty Dog is aiming to take the franchise to that hallowed transmedia realm that every top-selling video game feels it needs to inhabit. As long as the Uncharted spin-off products are as well-crafted and entertaining as the source material, I look forward to seeing what the company has in store for us.