Hideo Kojima quotes from an interview with the PlayStation Blog:
I was a designer for Metal Gear Solid, but I was not a producer, so I had no say in the budget, release date, or promotion of the game. I remember when they told me what the release date would be and I had no say in the matter… these are bitter memories for me.
I thought it would be very hard for me to develop Snake Eater as the lead creator, so I tried to delegate responsibilities to younger employees in the studio. In the end it couldn’t be done, but it was my first attempt in doing it.
By the end of the Metal Gear Solid 4 project we had nearly 200 people working on it, with three directors (although often they were directors in name only, and I ended up doing a lot). This is why the game was delayed.
Shortly after this article three directors were found under a bus.