Speaking to 1UP, former game producer Ryan Payton has described Metal Gear Solid 4 as "nothing short of a miracle." Kojima Productions, it seems, had not planned to continue the Metal Gear Solid storyline past the third iteration.
"The stories of MGS2 and MGS3 were truly written without any backup measures if the series continued, leaving dozens of confusing and unexplained plot elements in the wake," Payton explained. "The fact that we were able to tie up all the loose ends with MGS4 was nothing short of a miracle."
There were also a few nods in the direction of the still-largely-hypothetical Metal Gear Solid 5. "Hideo wants a younger staff member to take over the director role on the next MGS title, with him overseeing the project as producer," Payton revealed, "But I think I can speak for all my coworkers that every time Hideo talks about 'MGS5' to the press, we're just as curious about what it could be."
Hit the jump for the full interview - just be prepared for some king-sized plot spoilers. Apparently, Payton once received a 2,000 word account of his own execution from a fan incensed by the decision to cast Pat Zimmerman as Liquid Ocelot. Scary stuff, this fan service business.