This page details prerelease information and/or media for Chibi-Robo!.
Chibi-Robo! originally started out as a point-and-click adventure game that was going to be published by Bandai. The game was first shown off at E3 2003 and was slated for a June 2003 release in Japan and spring 2004 release in the US.
The point-and-click concept was partly revisited in the Japan-only release of New Play Control! Chibi-Robo! for the Wii.
In addition to the gameplay, the premise was vastly different than the final, featuring an inventor named Professor Sendagaya, the creator of Chibi-Robo, a robot with the emotional capacity of a human. Two burglars, Cookie and Arnie, are after Chibi-Robo and make attempts to steal it. There were supposedly many Chibi-Robos around the professor's house, and it's up to the player, who commands one, to stop the burglars and keep the house tidy.
The early version took place in Professor Sendagaya's house and would have featured some objects not seen in the final game, such as a garbage separator and an air conditioner. While there is no bathroom in the final game, the pre-release would have featured one.
As Chibi-Robo! was originally a point-and-click game, the player did not take direct control over Chibi-Robo:
- Instead of the analog stick controlling Chibi-Robo, it moved a cursor on-screen.
- Pressing the A and B buttons turns the cursor green and red, respectively, which can make Chibi-Robo perform "hot" or "cold" actions based on the color:
- If the cursor is green, Chibi-Robo will move to and examine objects the cursor is placed over.
- If the cursor is red, Chibi-Robo will stay away from the cursor and cancel certain actions it's already performing.
- The L and R buttons zoom the camera in and out, respectively.
- The D-Pad rotates the camera.
- The X button brings up the menu (presumably one similar to the final).
Chibi-Robo's design has remained consistent for the most part, but there are a few notable distinctions.
He appears matte silver in renders, and a light grey in gameplay. In the concept render shown above, He has bolts on his head and torso which are present in no other known beta media. Additionally, he appears to have a notably smoother bevel on his head.
Chibi-Robo would have a personality and skills that develop based on the player's actions. For example, if the player forces Chibi-Robo to work hard, it may gain new abilities that enable it to reach new areas.
Similar to the final, the player would be able to upgrade Chibi-Robo and give it new uniforms. However, the early version would include cosmetic upgrades not present in the final, such as new arms, legs, and heads, which have no affect on their performance. Additionally, sound and motion chips would change the sounds the Chibi-Robo makes.
Some new looks Chibi-Robo may have been able to acquire in the pre-release version include different-colored and bulkier bodies.
As in the final, Chibi-Robo emits the sounds of musical instruments in random notes on a scale when moving.
It's currently unknown whether the instrument changes depending on the material of the floor, as he only ever walks on one surface in the E3 2003 gameplay. What we do know, is that he emits the sounds of plucked Ukulele strings on wood, which was changed to a Marimba in the final. When jumping, he emits the sound of a plucked harp. this was changed to a rising whistle in the final.
The most notable difference however, is that he appears to whistle depending on his actions - for example, when he's happy or angry.
Collecting batteries increases Chibi-Robo's max battery capacity in the pre-release. In the final, you earn a higher battery capacity by obtaining enough Happy Points to increase your Chibi-Rank.
The music that plays in Professor Sendagaya's lab was used for the title screen music of the final game, remixed with new instruments, improved bassline and a slower BPM.
- Chibi-Robo's battery is on the bottom-left portion of the screen as opposed to the bottom-right portion, and the battery is represented by a bar.
- To the left of the battery icon is a visual representing either how much energy Chibi-Robo is using or how much noise Chibi-Robo is making. In the videos, the red arrow goes further around the circle the faster Chibi-Robo is moving.
- There are A and B button prompts on the upper-right portion of the screen. An X button prompt is also shown here at certain times.
- There is some sort of indicator on the upper-left portion of the screen. In gameplay videos, the dot moves around wildly no matter what is happening, so its purpose is unclear.
- The right of the indicator on the upper-left is reserved for showing Chibi-Robo's current mood. For example, if something catches Chibi-Robo's interest and an exclamation mark appears above its head, it will also show an exclamation mark here.
- The middle of the screen shows a cursor that changes into a red or green dot depending on whether the player is holding A or B, respectively.
- The time of day is missing, along with Happy Points, Moolah, and scrap metal.
In the beta version's loading screen, Chibi-Robo runs across a black background with the text "Now Loading..." at the bottom right of the screen. In the final, the room the player is entering is displayed in a stylised, animated font at the top of the screen. At the bottom, a 2D sprite of Chibi-Robo runs atop a loading bar before stopping to stretch. "Loading" text sits between Chibi-Robo and the loading bar.
The Chibi-House in the E3 version heavily resembles a Nintendo GameCube, while the final's has an original design resembling Chibi-Robo. It does not appear that Chibi-Robo can go inside the Chibi-House in the pre-release version, and there is a plug in the front of the Chibi-House that Chibi-Robo can use to recharge its battery.
The intro sequence for the level is drastically different. Two arms on the side of the Chibi-House, which look like handles, extend outwards and pull Chibi-Robo outside of the house. The arms then place Chibi-Robo in front of the house, plugging it into the outlet. Lastly, Chibi-Robo gets up and removes the plug, which begins gameplay.