Hideo Kojima says that the "No place to hide" line Konami is using to promote Metal Gear Solid 4, which it started developing for next-generation formats just last week, is not an indication that the series is to abandon its stealth roots, but rather a comment on an interesting new setting.
The Metal Gear Solid creator also said that he believed next-generation game development would go further than improvements in graphics and sound, allowing for "more conceptual things or even spiritual elements" - echoing, interestingly, the sentiments of Japanese developers like Tetsuya Mizuguchi who have recently signed up to develop for Microsoft's Xbox 2 console.
Speaking during his recent Metal Gear Solid 3 promotional tour, Kojima-san said that he was at the stage of "coming up with ideas and concepts based on what I think these machines might be".
In answer to a question about the "No place to hide" mantra, Kojima-san said the line was to do with the setting. "We're not going to tell you where yet, but [it's] a setting where your response will be, 'Oh my god, how do you expect me to hide here?' When you do actually hide in that environment, it will be very thrilling and tense," he added.
However Kojima-san did infer that some of the series' trademark references to TV shows, films and other quirky cultural homages might vanish on account of the other part of that marketing line - "No place for Hideo".
Speaking about the references in MGS3, Kojima-san said "It's purely for the fans," and acknowledged that his absence from the director's chair next time ought could make a difference. "All the references and humour come from me so you probably won't be seeing it in Metal Gear Solid 4," he said.
Whether that will please or upset you is extremely subjective. The MGS' series desire to digress and talk about periphery issues until we're all blue in the face has been one of its most divisive traits over the years. Still, anybody who's enjoyed hearing Para-Medic talk about her fondness for Godzilla is likely to be disappointed.
We'll bring you more on MGS4 as soon as we hear it - although given the early stage of the project it seems likely that we won't have a trailer to look forward to at this year's E3 trade show.