Although he's said it's to be his last Metal Gear Solid game, director Hideo Kojima has said that he's already had to be thinking about the next installment in the series.
Speaking in an interview published in the latest issue of Famitsu, translated by Develop, Kojima downplays the 'revelation' by saying that there was little chance of Metal Gear Solid not continuing despite his desire to no longer be so involved.
"Even though MGS4 is the end of Snake's story, I've got to think about MGS5," he said.
"It's not that surprising. I'm sure Metal Gear Solid will continue as a series. It'd still go on even if I tried to leave Konami. But this is definitely Snake's retirement."
Rather than have MGS5 developed by another of Konami's development teams, however, Kojima wants to keep the game within his subsidiary as he'll still have to act as producer - but, he says, he even wants to distance himself from that role eventually.
"I want a new Metal Gear Solid developed by young staff members, because I think that, so long as it's a sneaking game, it doesn't matter where it heads."
When asked if he felt heavy-hearted at having to end Snake's story - one started 20 years ago - Kojima surprised the interviewer by saying: "I think that there were people on staff who felt deeply about it, but it didn't mean anything to me.
"I'm already worrying about what comes next, because the end just means a new beginning. I'm most concerned that players will be happy with Metal Gear Solid 4, but I'm also worried about the next Metal Gear Solid, about the Kojima Productions staff, and about what's next for me.
"Because I've been worrying about all of this, when I look back at the last four years there's no sense of, 'wow, it's been a long time'. I think we've done well."