Nintendo World Report released its full interview with the Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash developers today.
Risa Tabata and Kensuke Tanabe talked about the early days of the Chibi-Robo series and how Bandai was involved with the character’s design, the series’ timeline and how they took inspiration from other Nintendo games while making Zip Lash.
Here’s their quotes:
On how there’s a copyright for Bandai Namco in Chibi-Robo!: Zip-Lash:
KT: Before the game for the GameCube came out, we were working with Skip and Bandai. That’s what their name was, but the project was put on hold. Around that time, I don’t quite remember what the situation was, but Mr Miyamoto had a chance to take a look at the character Chibi-Robo, and he really liked it and said ‘Why don’t we make a game based on this character?’ And that’s how that project started.
RT: Not for the game itself, but when the character Chibi-Robo was created, that’s when Bandai was also involved.
KT: We don’t recall if it was early GameCube, not exactly sure on the timeline but it was at the end of it.
On Chibi-Robo’s timeline/story:
KT: There’s not anything clear in terms of timeline. As you’ve probably heard, there’s the Orange Corp, the company who creates these robots, and they distribute the robots to people. In that sense, timewise, it’s in the near future.
If you see the art style for the GameCube, it’s sort of the 1960s. So the second one mentioned Chibi-Robo Park Patrol,the Japanese is Okaidi: Chibi-Robo. Park Patrol was around the same time as the one for GameCube, the first one.
In the GameCube version, you see that there’s girl Jenny who is 8 years old, later she’ll appear as a single mother. So that’s about 20 years or so down the road when she comes up again.
RT: This title we have an idea that it’s a little after that, if you consider that there are snacks you see now in our time, that gives you an idea that it might be close to the present.
The reason why Toby is mentioning that he already knows Chibi-Robo is that it’s widely known that Orange Corp is the one who creates the robot and distributes it to the world. So that’s why he acknowledges the existence of Chibi-Robo.
On what ideas from the games they’ve produced have made their way into Zip Lash:
KT: Taking the example of platform games in general that we’ve worked on, such as the Donkey Kong, there’s a lot in terms of gameplay experience we’ve used as reference to bring it up, to look into the terrain and judge what can be easy or difficult to get through in one stage, to get a good balance and give the players a good feeling as they get through everything. In that aspect, there’s some things we took into account to work on this game.
There’s something we wanted to work on to differentiate Chibi-Robo from the other platform games.
RT: Other games, like Mario games, typical side scrolling games, there’s the jumping aspect. We didn’t want to have that as the main thing, so we focused on how to make good use of Chibi-Robo’s plug and cord to get the actions involved around that.
Not only that, we also included the feature to have the cord be extendable, and have it bounce around the walls to get to higher places.
So ever since we worked on titles like Donkey Kong, the typical side scrolling games, we wanted to play around with the camera a little bit more, to see if there was any surprise we could present to the player as they went through the stage.
In Donkey Kong Returns, you have the characters moving back in forth in two different platforms, in Tropical Freese, you have this camera following around Donkey Kong in interesting ways.
I’m not sure if you saw the Treehouse Live segment where we presented Chibi-Robo, but there’s a portion where the camera would turn 90 degrees to show a completely different angle on where Chibi-Robo was going to go. It’s one of the things we included in the game to sort of get that little surprise that you get as you get through the stage, looking at the stage from a different perspective.