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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chibi-Robo: Little Hope In His Last Chance?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a tiny chance you'll see Chibi-Robo ever again.

Do you think anything of the Chibi-Robo! series? If you do, then you really need to buy Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash because if you don't you might not see him in his own games ever again, and he'll be stuck making cameos in weird things like Captain Rainbow.

That's according to Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe in an interview with Verge. Apparently Tanabe can control Chibi-Robo's fate. It's actually pretty rare that a producer will outright say what people should intuitively know to be true: If the game doesn't sell, you're not going to get any more in the series.

Basically, Tanabe stated, "this might be the last chance for us", putting himself together with Chibi-Robo's future. Of course, if Chibi-Robo's batteries cannot be replaced, Tanabe still has a future at Nintendo. 

Tanabe basically did the opposite of the usual Nintendo method of character design: They started with the character and then tried to design games around that. What Nintendo usually does is have a gameplay concept and then have a team design characters to match that concept. This... could be why Chibi-Robo's games don't sell very well. And Kensuke Tanabe stated in the interview that he's been repeatedly trying to get Chibi-Robo into a "mainstream success", but I guess the calls for sane budgeting at Nintendo are making Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash the last straw. Tanabe has stubbornly surpassed the Law of Third Titles in determining the franchise's viability, with... more than three games in the Chibi-Robo series, though I don't know which ones fans consider "real" Chibi-Robo games.

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash Cymbal Monkey Chibi Robo
Funding Chibi-Robo games no one will buy results in code-monkeys needing to binge-eat on snacks, because they get poor sleep from the agony and crunch-time.

The problem is that Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is a really boring-looking generic sidescrolling game. You know you don't have much confidence in your game when you're relying on an exclusive (cute, but not as cute as another set of amiibo made of yarn) amiibo to drive sales. At least all the diehard amiibo collectors will buy it, and that'll probably double how many copies the game would otherwise sell.

Unless the game has changed dramatically since E3 (reminder that the game comes out this October — October 9, 2015), there is no compelling reason to buy the game. It's just generic and boring.

I won't really miss Chibi-Robo if he's gone, even if I've been thinking he's pretty cute for a decade now, to the point I requested people draw adorable pictures of him. I already thought his series got unofficially discontinued (like F-Zero) so I was really surprised to see him return in Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash. If I already have low expectations and thought the series was already finished, then there won't be any tears shed if he was gone.

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash Mario costume Nintendo 3DS
Chibi-Robo is wearing a red-plumber costume? Okay, definitely no tears shed.

Ludwig likes the 2D sidescrolling gameplay style of Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash, but he's played enough games in there to know if he'd be interested in that or not. He also doesn't think Chibi-Robo belongs in a 2D sidescroller anyway. If you're a fan of Chibi-Robo for his games and not his cutesy-look, let Ludwig know if he's wrong.

An example of a 2D sidescrolling game that looked terrible before release and actually was terrible upon release was Yoshi's New Island.
There's at least some similarities between this and the Pikmin game for 3DS we don't know much about.


  1. Lol threats. I remember when Capcom tried to secretly encourage people to by Mega Man Legends 3 demo to see if the real game will sell, people were rightfully angry and Capcom said it is a separate chapter and will not be part of the game but the potential buyers still said how much they did not want to buy it and then Legends three was pulled and they all cried and tried to ask for the demo after all.

    Never played anything from this game series so don't really have an attachment either way. Just another dead Nintendo franchise to add to the pile which also includes Advance Wars in that pile. I am sorry, the Advance Wars assist trophy does not count as Nintendo caring for it and I hate that lazy sprite rip and I gladly will play with Assist Trophies off if that means I do not ever have to see that lazily made thing.

    1. I don't see it as a threat, I see it as establishing a reality.

      The difference between Chibi-Robo and what Capcom does is when Capcom games meet their sales targets, Capcom still doesn't let go of their hostage.
      (Or at least that's with Dual Destinies and Ace Attorney Investigations 2. I feel stupid for honestly thinking over two years ago that Capcom would follow their word.)

      At least Advance Wars got an Assist Trophy. Chibi-Robo is literally perfect material for Assist Trophy and he didn't get anything. On the other hand, Chibi-Robo still got 5 games (low budget, but still) in 10 years, which is a lot.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. "An example of a 2D sidescrolling game that looked terrible before release and actually was terrible upon release was Yoshi's New Island."

      I was so disinterested in it that for my Platinum Reward, I pretty much already had all the Platinum games except for that game but I felt it was not even worth it for free (along with the memory I need to get to download it) that I traded my Platinum prize for a Gold (the person was my friend for many years so I do not feel I have been ripped off). The person requested Animal Crossing: New Leaf and I got in return Advance Wars as even though I already have the cart, perhaps a download will help show that there is interest in AW.

    3. Wait, when did a person/friend get involved in you choosing a Club Nintendo reward?

    4. I really had no interest in any of the Platinum games as I got all worthwhile Platinum games in some form. Also I got all the worthwhile Gold games too in some form. A person in a forum I go to said he only got Gold Status so I offered to trade a Platinum game for a Gold so I can get Advance Wars as a download.

    5. So you decided to help someone out instead of just pick the Gold and not involve anyone else?

      Got it. ^_^

      Back throughout 2013/the start of 2014, KoopaTV had all these articles on every new development in Yoshi's New Island in the hopes it would be great like Yoshi's (old) Island. ...What a disappointment.

  2. Question: why release a game with completely different gameplay than the previous entries in the series and use THAT to judge whether or not the series continues?

    1. It didn't make sense to me either. At first.

      Then realise Tanabe's logic: Chibi-Robo! is not a series that is about the gameplay. It is a series about Chibi-Robo the character, his character design, and affiliated cutesy art style. So this is a series that exists character-first, which means it doesn't matter what gameplay is there.

      People are expected to play the game because they like Chibi-Robo, not because of a gameplay preference. So if this is the last game in the series, then might as well be a "genre" (after writing the genre article I feel guilty using that word now) that Nintendo fans traditionally really like.

      ...Of course, a sidescroller where a peaceful cleaning robot just whips people seems antithetical to what Chibi-Robo as a character is about.

    2. That doesn't sound like good logic to me. Zip Lash doesn't look anything like the previous games.

      Ace Attorney is story-driven and character-focused. If Capcom released a game that starred all the Ace Attorney characters with their usual humor and storytelling, except it was a shooter, and then said the future of the series depended on it, fans would go crazy.

    3. Of course it's not good logic.
      ...Though character-based game franchises is something I know RawkHawk is a big supporter of so I wish he was around so I could hear his thoughts.
      ...I'm a supporter of character-based franchising too, but not to the extent that I think this is a good idea. >_>

      Oh my gosh, I would go ballistic if Capcom did that. ...

      Ballistic markings... From a gun... it's a shooter...
      You know, with all the murders that go on in Ace Attorney, maybe a shooter does make sense...

    4. Now, I support Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for holding true to the series' tone and humor even though it switched up the gameplay, and you know I support Super Paper Mario.
      But the Chibi-Robo stuff just seems weird.


    5. ...Did you bring up Banjo-Kazooie because I name-dropped Rawk?

      If Capcom made an Ace Attorney shooter, it'd be America-only for a change.

    6. In part. I remembered that he (I think) supports Nuts & Bolts as well.

      That would be ironic.

    7. Yeah, note who wrote the articles that mention Nuts & Bolts on the site.

      That would be the point.

  3. The extending plug idea is cool, but to this date I’ve only completed half of this game. Mostly because of that stupid stage wheel and the extreme depression only felt while playing this game. The only reason I bought this game shortly after it came out was because I knew how great the original was and wanted to give this game a chance. I can see the heart it kinda has, but I am still massively disappointed. I suppose maybe this article is true, because there is no new chibirobo game. Shame, you just know he would have sold phenomenally on the switch, most sales would probably come from the fact that he’s as cute as he is and the animal crossing crowd would probably eat that up.

    It is worth noting that since so many of nintendos series have their best game on switch, they may conflate all the sales figures with the switch and not the actual games. Which makes sense in some regards, but also dash’s any of hopes of Nintendo revitalizing overlooked/less popular game series, because they themselves know the switch is a “fad” of sorts for the mainstream gaming medium.

    1. I... don't really remember this game existing. :x

      Well, there was an Animal Crossing crowd in the GameCube era and that's when Chibi-Robo first existed, and it wasn't selling big then, either.


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