Three images. A Metal Gear Solid 5 logo. A cryptic quote. A blurry emblem.

Each leaking over the Internet during the weekend of San Diego Comic-Con. Each invoking blood, destruction, Project Ogre and inscrutable passages of dialogue. Each about as convincing as a cardboard-box disguise – and yet, each offering weary fans hope that Metal Gear Solid 5 was primed for a reveal, as Konami stoked the fires on Twitter in a somewhat-perplexing denial of their authenticity.

Each was shot down in unison today by series creator Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions senior producer Ken-ichiro Imaizumi,  officially putting to rest the notion that – four years after the release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – the next major installment in the trailblazing stealth-action series was ready for the spotlight.

First it was Kojima – whose presence at Comic-Con spawned conjecture that MGS 5 was being shown privately to the press – taking to Twitter and calling the logo “completely FAKE”:

“Since I’ve received inquiries about the MGS5 title screen/the announcement made at Comic Con which I had no idea of, I looked up on the net and found the source. But pls note that title logo is completely FAKE. I apologize to those who were looking forward.”

Ken-ichiro Imaizumi then resolved all doubt, tweeting out a dismissal of the entire trio:

“I’ve been asked about the screen shots of MGS5 on the game sites. These’re ALL FAKE. We’ll update when we’re ready to announce.”

But it’s not so much an announcement, a confirmation of existence, that gamers are waiting for. Hideo Kojima has candidly confirmed on several occasions that Metal Gear Solid 5 was floating around in those creative, conceptual stages at Konami and Kojima Productions. He’s even mused about possible locations, such as World War II Normandy, and about adding another chapter to the saga of Solid Snake.

No, the real intrigue behind Metal Gear Solid 5 lies within when the game will be shown in action, when it will reveal the latest direction of the peripatetic series and, most importantly, when it will arrive in stores. Much to the ire of those hungry for a rapid release and even faster answers, we may not be moving beyond whimsical Kojima meditations and fraudulent logos any time soon.

Consider the current makeup of the Kojima/Konami itinerary. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has proven somewhat divisive for its contrast to the core series and leaving the development of Kojima Productions, but it still had a strong showing at this year’s E3 and Hideo Kojima has expressed every intention of  supporting, influencing and occupying himself with the title until its 2013 release. Afterwards, the creator and his studio are directly tied to Project Ogre. We know as much about Ogre as we do MGS 5 (which is to say we’re clueless), but the even on the immensely remote chance of the two being one and the same, many wouldn’t be surprised to see the “subdued“, “open-world” title release in the next generation.

Metal Gear Solid 5 Project Ogre

Which is likely where we’ll find Metal Gear Solid 5. Four years are three more than enough to show that Kojima isn’t enamored with expediency the way so many in the current development landscape are. With a full plate and no whiff of a rumor that the game has progressed into full-gear development, why would Konami choose to cram Metal Gear Solid 5 into the final months of the current-gen life cycle? And with that in mind, why would any announcement come before next year’s E3, when we’ll likely see the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 make their debut?

Every main iteration in the Metal Gear canon has sought to take advantage of the best technology of time, to pave the the way in visual, gameplay, and design innovation. Right now that technology lies beyond the PlayStation 3 – or any other system on the market. (Kojima’s own Fox Engine even showed this March how the developer was looking past the power of the present.)

Sure, there’s a chance that, out of the blue, through a slowly-hyped trailer a la Grand Theft Auto V or a surprise appearance at the VGA’s, we’ll see a polished, near-completion Metal Gear Solid 5 with a release date slated for late 2013 on current- and next-gen platforms. But as Konami alluded to on Twitter over the weekend – “we love a bit of speculation” – don’t be surprised if MGS 5 remains camouflaged for quite a while longer.

Ranters, when do you expect to see official information on Metal Gear Solid 5? When do you think it will release? Will Konami and Hideo Kojima hold off on any news until, say E3 2013, or is a trailer or major reveal destined for the coming months?

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Twitter (Konami, Hideo Kojima, Ken-ichiro Imaizumi), IGN