Chibi-Robo was originally being developed by just Skip, and not Nintendo (But it was still intended for a Gamecube release). The game’s storyline back then was different, you needed to train Chibi-Robo to get home and avoid the burglars that were after him. The gameplay was going to be a point-and-click like adventure. Early videos show Chibi-Robo in a Lab of some sort, running around to collect batteries to raise his own internal battery. It seems that Chibi Robo would have been able to evolve itself, as we can see different robo-upgrades in one of the concept arts.
There were also other beta objectives like pushing things over, moving objects and other ideas to get batteries and other things. After a few years, Skip gave up on the project. Nintendo though, was still interested in the idea of the game and saved it from development hell by building on Skip’s project. Nintendo reworked the engine into its current action adventure status, gave it new environments, and a new storyline. – [info from Wikipedia]
[Thanks to Matt Gander for some images!]
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