If you’re one of the many fans of Naughty Dog’s laurel-snatching Uncharted series, get ready for 2010’s most welcome but least surprising announcement: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is coming in 2011.

EW.com’s scoop tells us that Uncharted 3 takes place in and around the Arabian Peninsula, and rejoins series star Nathan drake with mentor Victor Sullivan as they search for a lost desert city. Unlike the rude and whiny Anakin Skywalker, the eager developers at Naughty Dog relish the idea of playing in the sand:

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 forsomething 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 will further refine the last game’s multiplayer and co-op modes, as well as implement changes to solo play like multiple-adversary combat and “backwards climbing” (?). There’s no confirmation yet on 3D or Move support, although Naughty Dog recently hinted that motion controller support isn’t in the cards for Uncharted just yet.

Expect more concrete details about Uncharted 3 (along with a few other highly anticipated reveals, like Bioware’s next project and a rumored Prototype sequel) during Spike’s VGA Awards on December 11th.