Given the regularly discussed 10 year life-cycles of both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this generation of consoles might be rather long. While that may be fine for the current HD platforms, Nintendo’s Wii stands out as the overwhelmed hardware option. It makes sense then that Nintendo would release the Wii U as a way to contemporize their hardware between now and when this generation is over.

That’s a fact that was suggested by Gearbox Software‘s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Brian Martel in an interview with IGN Australia. Martel spoke to the potential of the Wii U, though what exactly it can do he doesn’t know, and how the system stands as a stop-gap between generations.

“Right now we’re still finding out what kind of final tech specs the Wii U is going to have…But we like the system a lot; we think it’s going to be a really cool stop-gap in between this generation and the next generation. We think it’s really smart of Nintendo, and the fact that as a platform it’s a lot more capable for hardcore first-person shooter-style gaming – for us that’s fantastic.”

By all accounts so far, though no one has come out and flatly said it, the Wii U does seem like little more than a bridge between generations for core gamers. The Wii itself has grown stagnant in the arenas of sales and third party development. While Nintendo’s successfully ridden that gravy train for years, the time has come for the company to ante up and make a system that’s more appealing for both developers and core gamers.

A console with HD capabilties and more traditional control options seems in line with that principle.

Martel’s definitely not slamming or dissing the Wii U by calling it a stop-gap, either; we don’t think you should be reading it that way. The console will be better equipped than the PS3 and Xbox 360, given its newness. But it won’t blow either of them away. And I don’t think that’s Nintendo‘s intent. The Big N is providing an entrant into the HD gaming realm to stave off becoming irrelevant.

But you can be certain that they’ll never market the machine that way.

[via IGN Australia]