The Chibi-Robo! franchise and its adorable titular character have a following of loving fans (including Gamnesia Editor-in-Chief Colin McIsaac), but unfortunately this is only a very small group. Chibi-Robo! games typically sell in very low amounts, and some of the games have never seen the light of day outside of Japan. The franchise will soon see new life when Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash launches next month, and according to Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe, it could be the last chance for the franchise to prove itself or face the axe.
"To be honest, this might be the last chance for us. I’ve continually thought about ways to build this into a mainstream success. We’ve challenged ourselves in assorted ways along those lines, but I can’t say that we’ve found the answer yet.
"The first thing we decided upon was that we’d make an action game that took advantage of his plug and cord. We then placed the core of the gameplay on using it like a grappling hook, throwing it into a faraway edge and using that to traverse gaps and so on. As we kept thinking about ideas, we naturally settled on the 2D side-scrolling format. If the character can gain more recognition, I believe we’ll have a chance to produce another adventure-style game for a large number of people. I’m hoping that we made the right choice for this game’s play style." — Kensuke Tanabe
The simpler 2D style allows Nintendo to revive the series with a small budget and hopefully build up a bigger fan base, especially in the West. If it fails to gain traction, this could be the end for Chibi-Robo.
Source: The Verge