According to an interview on The Verge, it seems like Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe thinks this is Chibi-Robo’s last chance to find it’s footing, saying “I’ve continually thought about ways to build this into a mainstream success”. He goes on to say “We’ve challenged ourselves in assorted ways along those lines, but I can’t say that we’ve found the answer yet.”
Here’s some free advice Tanabe-san: Get back to basics. It’s a cult classic for a reason. I promise we’ll forget that photo one if you do.