Metal Gear Solid 4 "will be a next-generation title" and will be the first in a brand new series featuring Solid Snake, Hideo Kojima has told the massed ranks of journalists at a Berlin press event this week.
The series creator was echoing sentiments expressed in last year's MGS3 trailer for the Tokyo Game Show, which described the third game in the series as the "Final Episode in the Metal Gear Solid Trilogy".
However Kojima will not be taking quite such a hands-on role with the game's development as he has in the past, delegating production duties to Kenichiro Imaizumi, while the series creator takes up the role of executive producer on the title. There's "No place to hide" and "No place for Hideo," Kojima told the Berlin crowd.
Looking forward, MGS4 producer Imaizumi said that with the next-generation Metal Gear Solid the development team "want to feature a fresh, intriguing storyline and gameplay plus captivating graphics and more features while remaining true to the core of the MGS series - remaining Solid."
Of course, this isn't the first time that Kojima has relaxed control of his most famous creation. PlayStation Portable title Metal Gear Acid, which introduced a different, card-battling style of gameplay and was released in Japan at the same time as MGS3, was produced by Masahiro Hinami and directed by Shinta Nojiri. He also relinquished direction of the Game Boy Metal Gear Solid title to Nojiri at the turn of the millennium, taking production and supervising director credits roles.
The PS2-exclusive Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is due out in Europe this Friday, 4th March, featuring bonus elements over and above its Japanese and American forerunners.