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First Uncharted 3 trailer: Dissected

Analysis: Drake's waiting. Let's explore.

"Two Dissected features in one day!" we hear you cry. "Two!"

Well we didn't expect the world's very first Uncharted 3 trailer to land online over lunch, did we?

Like the BioWare image CVG snagged this morning, Naughty Dog's short video teases a bigger reveal for this weekend's VGA's in Los Angeles - but that doesn't mean it's not chock full of hidden gems.

In the trailer, our camera drifts slowly across a table - one covered in plenty of historical context and big, juicy clues.

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Like, for instance the two American passports lying on a age-worn map. Or the mug, which reads 'Rapscallion Cafe'. Or the two UK £20 notes. Both appear to come from Britain - and look like the possessions of two well-travelled types.

Apparently, the story of Uncharted 3 focuses on Drake's relationship with his mentor and father figure, Victor "Sully" Sullivan. A duo of prime candidates right there, then.

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Moving across the table, we see some bullets, a compass and a few coins. And what's this? An ancient map, containing scrawls including 'Thomas' and what looks like '1909', partly concealed by a pencil.

There's also 'CC' followed by '020 7902', suggesting a London phone number. A handwritten philosophical phrase reads: 'Greatness from small beginnings'. Want to know something interesting? That's the direct translation from the Latin: 'Sic Parvis Magna', worn on the Coat Of Arms of one Sir Francis Drake (1540 - 1596).

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Shifting across a metre or so, a cutlass and a map of Arabia. To the left, 'Thomas's' full name is revealed: 'Thomas Philby Thesiger'.

That'll be Bartram Thomas (1892 - 1950), Harry St John Philby (1885 - 1960) and Sir Wilfred Thesiger (1910 - 2003), then - a trio of legendary British explorers. They all made crossings of the Rub Al-Khali - Arabia's 'Empty Quarter', and one of the largest sand deserts in the world - in the 1930s and 1940s. It looks like Nathan Drake's going to have to follow in their footsteps.

Thomas, Philby and Thesiger were also all great fans of their predecessor, T.E Lawrence (1888 - 1935). According to Naughty Dog, U3 has been heavily influenced by the early life of archaeologist Lawrence - who would later become better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia'. His book 'Seven Pillars Of Wisdom' is clearly visible on the table in the trailer.

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Another move along, another bundle of clues. A notepad reads: 'Ubar Wabar... Iram Of The Pillars'. This is almost certainly the 'Lost City' from the Arabian Peninsular that Drake is searching for. Eat your heart out, Dr. Jones.

Elsewhere, a picture of Lawrence in his trademark headdress and a newspaper, 'Elphia Record'. Its only fully visible headline reads: 'Col Lawrence, Hero Of Arabia, Dies Of Injury'.

We can't see the date, but it isn't necessary. Lawrence died on May 19, 1935 - following an accident on his Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle in Dorset.

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In the final shot, we see a long Revolver pistol and a small stick man drawn on a notepad - similar to that which sits atop Thomas's name in the earlier screen. We won't say it looks like an extraterrestrial if you don't.

What is Naughty Dog trying to tell us with all this? At least we know why Drake narrates, "All men dream, but not equally." That's one of Lawrence's - from The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom, no less. We think Naughty Dog might just have a bit of respect for him.

We can at least be certain that Drake is going hunting for that lost city, the 'Iram Of The Pillars' - and that his trek across the Rub Al-Khali will be inspired by some true British greats.

Along the way, he's bound to thrill, likely to shock - and guaranteed to be deceived. It's going to be one glorious journey.

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