While our wonderful PlayStation Community has been getting their hands on the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception multiplayer this week, team SCEE were joined by 20 competition winners from across the world, local media, Naughty Dog representatives and Nolan North and Emily Rose – the actors behind Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher in the game – on a treasure hunt in the Jordanian desert.
We followed in the footsteps of T.E. Lawrence – better known as Lawrence of Arabia and one of the historical figures that has a large role in the Uncharted 3 plot – in search of gold coins, with the team to gather the most booty at the end of the day collecting prizes including a beautiful (and valuable) watch, a Garmin GPS device and a Belstaff jacket. All attending winners will also receive the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Explorer Edition on launch and one of the first PlayStation Vita consoles from the production line, along with Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
I’ll have a video documenting the entire event for you next week (as soon as we’re done editing it) but, in the meantime, check out these pictures and a breakdown of the challenges the Jordanian desert had in store for our intrepid contestants.
Sand Balance challenge, Lawrence Spring (GPS N 29 33.509 E 035 24.682)
A local Bedouin awaited our adventurers with a set of scales containing gold coins. Our contestants had several sacks of sand of different weights and had to choose which one balanced the scales perfectly.
Little Bridge (GPS N 29 31.207 E 035 26.548)
Our teams encountered on overturned Jeep in the desert and had to search it to find a scroll. Then, they moved over to a marked off square of fine sand and had to dig with their fingers in search of up to ten gold coins, against the clock.
Middle Bridge, Um Fruth (GPS N 29 28.127 E 035 26.938)
Our teams had to approach a local Bedouin tribesman and correctly say the phrase ‘Ahtaaju an atadarraba ‘ala al Arabia’ (which translates as ‘I need to practice my Arabic’) and were then allowed to take on the challenge, where they were given three throwing axes and had to get them to stick in a wooden board from a distance.
Large Bridge, Burdha Bridge (GPS N 29 28.58 E 035 29.026)
After using their GPS devices to locate a scroll, the treasure hunters found a shooting range in a gully and tried to hit three targets using a standard .22 air rifle.
Parachute Landing (GPS N 29 31.325 E 035 27.944)
Our adventurers followed their GPS devices to an abandoned parachute in the middle of the desert. Close by was a suitcase containing various items. They had 20 seconds to memorise as many of the items as possible and then write them down afterwards.
Lawrence’s House (GPS N 29 31.701 E 035 27.559)
The treasure hunters rode camels to the bottom of a rock formation and then had to search for a scroll containing their next clue. They then rode back to Lawrence’s House and drank tea with local Bedouin tribesmen.
Alameleh Inscriptions (GPS N 29 33.363 E 035 27.164)
A scroll was hidden beneath a loose rock next to the inscriptions.
Sand Dune (GPS N 29 33.216 E 035 26.725)
Our adventurers climbed a huge sand dune where they found a hand poking out from the sand, clutching a rifle and the next scroll (remind you of the first Uncharted 3 trailer?)
Al Shallaleh (GPS N 29 34.438 E 035 24.774)
Our teams climbed the side of the rock face to a waterfall and had to fill three bottles with water and take them over to a cylinder with fake coin at the bottom; the idea was to fill the cylinder so that the coin floats to the top, as quickly as they could.
Final Location, The Nabataen Temple (GPS N 29 34.670 E 035 24.876)
The scrolls collected at each location were combined to show the co-ordinates to the final location and our teams had to input them to the GPS devices and navigate their way to the Bedouin trading post. There they handed in the gold coins to be counted and decide who would be the overall winner.
We then returned to our camp at Bait Ali in the Wadi Rum region to clear sand from ears and prepare for the evening reception, where Taylor Kurosaki and Arne Meyer of Naughty Dog gave a presentation of the desert gameplay in Uncharted 3, and Nolan North and Emily Rose offered some insight into the lengths they go to in performance capture to bring their characters to life.
We then presented Dario Ripamonti from Italy with the top prize of a Tag Heuer Grand Carrera watch, and Rui Unas from Portugal and Spain’s Alvaro Soria Salinas with the Garmin GPS 62ST mapping system second prize and the Belstaff Road Master jacket respectively.
It really was a fantastic trip and every attendee that I spoke to agreed. However, and most importantly, the event signifies that Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is less than a month away from release and I know you’re looking forward to it as much as we all are. Like I said, we’ll have a full professional video showing all that happened next week and, as a bit of a tease in the meantime, here’s some really rough footage I shot on my flip camera from the back of our jeep.