GR: Without giving too much away, which characters and story elements should we be looking out for this time? Any surprises or character moments you found particularly rewarding as a long-term fan? Does Raiden redeem himself?
PF: Raiden does redeem himself, although clearly Koj loves him a lot more than we ever will. Big Mama's story is worth looking out for too, but it's impossible to say much more without spoiling it.
GR: Did the game's ending feel as final a resolution as we're being led to believe it is, or is there still potential for continuation with or without Kojima?
PF: A bit of both. This is the end of Snake's story, but there are other characters who feasibly could live to sneak another day.
GR: As an overall production, does the game deserve the years of hype it's garnered?
PF: It is unique, and mostly for the very best reasons. It is, lest I haven't said this enough, a really, really enjoyable game to play. So, for my money, yes.
GR: Do you think its release will make any kind of difference to the PS3 as a platform? Some say it'll sell systems like nothing we've ever seen before, while some think it will only sell to the pre-converted hardcore Metal Gear audience.
PF: I think GTAIV is more likely to shift hardware, but if you like games at all and/or have any interest in where they're going, this is indispensable. This is a game for the fans. But if you're not one, it doesn't take much to get on board. The earlier games are still superb, and wikipedia can get you up to speed with the plot in fifteen minutes. Get involved!
GR: In ten years, how do you think MGS4 will be viewed in comparison to the rest of the series?
PF: As a brilliantly inventive, reassuringly mad grand finale to a consistently inventive and mad series.