[[quoteright:265:[[VideoGame/{{Borderlands2}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zero_effort_1469.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:265:Nice job [[ZeroEffortBoss shooting his face]]. Enjoy your [[LastLousyPoint +1% completion]].]]

->''"For a bunch of guys on a mission to save the world, you sure do love your detours."''
-->-- '''Gig''', ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

A very fundamental video game trope, a sidequest (or optional quest, or side mission, etc.) is any part of a video game that is not required to complete the game. Sidequests come in a variety of forms, and completing sidequests generally brings reward to the player such as additional equipment or abilities, areas to explore, supplemental plot related details, or fun unlockables.

Going out of your way and completing all sidequests results in [[HundredPercentCompletion one hundred percent completion]].

Some side quests such as the BonusDungeon and BonusBoss may provide challenges more difficult than any content available through the main storyline. This allows more casual players to still complete the game and see the plot resolved, while also giving gamers seeking an additional challenge something to go after.

It is important to note that this trope appears in practically every game which gives the player even a slight amount of free rein, and is one of the best way for a developer to add more content and extend the length of a game. If sidequests take up the majority of the game, it may be a WideOpenSandbox.

In a lot of post-''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' [=MMOs=] (and games inspired by it), most sidequests fall into the Big Five templates: [[MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest Kill Quests]][[note]]"kill a certain number of certain mobs"[[/note]], {{Fetch Quest}}s[[note]]"bring me a specific thing"[[/note]], [=FedEx=] Quests[[note]]"[[InvertedTrope deliver this thing to another place]]"[[/note]], [[CollectionSidequest Collect Quests]][[note]]"find a certain number of certain things", often [[TwentyBearAsses rolled into Kill Quests]][[/note]], and [[EscortMission Escort Quests]][[note]]"guide this vulnerable NPC to another place"--i.e. an extra frustrating variation of [=FedEx=] Quests[[/note]]. As [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otAkP5VjIv8 discussed]] by ''WebAnimation/ExtraCredits'', the prevalence of the Big Five is often a result of the common view among game designers that the only purpose of sidequests is to [[JustifiedTrope justify]] in-story the endless [[RPGsEqualCombat combat]] [[LevelGrinding grind]] gameplay.

Related to IrrelevantSidequest, LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests, ThatOneSidequest, and SidequestSidestory. Compare with WackyWaysideTribe, a non-interactive version. Also see EasterEgg, InfinityPlusOneSword, and QuestGiver.



[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* Featured in every single ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' game since the beginning of the series. A well-known example is ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'' for its sheer number of sidequests, which translates in several characters in need of help, more complex mini-games to play and more secret zones to explore. Other games in the series, such as ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap The Minish Cap]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild Breath of the Wild]]'' follow a similar trend. In general terms, the availability of sidequests in a Zelda game is inversely proportional to how many dungeons exist.
** ''Breath of the Wild'' actually takes this UpToEleven, since it is entirely possible to make a dash for the final boss the second you complete the NoobCave, meaning that ''everything'' is technically a sidequest. Even worse, the '''900''' Korok seeds, fully half of which ''do nothing'', account for 72% of the total completion percentage of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', sidequests help Amaterasu to gain Praise units, which gradually enhance her health, paint storage, money and revival chance stats. Some sidequests also house Stray Beads, a bonus supply of Gold Dust (which will permanently power up one weapon) and secret brush techniques.
* ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' has a plethora of sidequests. They're optional, of course, unless you happen to need to be a slightly higher Hunter rank to take a plot-relevant quest. Not all quests will increase your rank, however.
* The search for the Extra-Life clover boxes in ''VideoGame/LittleBigAdventure'' and it's sequel. ''Little Big Adventure II'' also has the optional adventure in the form of a BonusDungeon; an off-the-main-path island cave off the coast of Desert Island which houses the Protection Spell. You do not need the spell to complete the game, and it will be [[PermanentlyMissableContent lost for good]] once you leave Twinsun the second time.
* The ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' games have plenty of extra quests that help the player complete the synchronization of the memories of the past, which in turn leads to unveiling several rewards. ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'' goes as far as giving the player the opportunity to explore a very large part of the Caribbean to visit numerous islands, in which plenty of collectibles can be found, enemy bases can be confronted and dismantled, and treasure chests can be opened; then there's fishing, exploring sunken ships, doing requested assassinations, etc.
* You'll get a series of these in ''VideoGame/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Each area has different tasks available, some which have to be activated by talking to random characters. You have to get these tasks accomplished before a certain timeframe. If you don't, the sidequest will be unavailable and you won't get a chance to do it again. That is, unless you restart the file all over again or go back to an older file.

* In ''[[VideoGame/WithFriends Stampede Run]]'', you can run down side alleys. They're more challenging (no room for side-to-side motion, tight corners, etc.) but you can get lots of stars if you make it through.

[[folder:First-Person Shooter]]
* Present in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' and its sequels, ''VideoGame/Borderlands2'' and ''VideoGame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'', with characters paying in XP, money, and/or loot. Especially notable is the (only) Face [=McShooty=] quest "Shoot This Guy In The Face". Should you find him in the middle of nowhere screaming about how he ''needs'' someone to [[CaptainObvious shoot him in the face]], accepting means you have to do so. Completing it actually awards you with cash and XP too, as well as the achievement ''[[ZeroEffortBoss "Well that was easy..."]]''

[[folder:Platform Game]]
* Even the ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games are not immune. Collecting plates in the Classic series; the armors from ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', the Cyber Elves from ''VideoGame/MegaManZero''; and the RPG games ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' and ''VideoGame/MegaManLegends'' haven't even been mentioned yet...

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* Most ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' games features optional objectives in missions, but Tiberian Sun went one step beyond and featured optional missions, unnecessary to progress further in the campaign but granting some sort of advantage in the associated main mission.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'': In Dark Crusade, you only need to defeat the enemy stronghold provinces to win, regardless of how many provinces you actually hold. In practice, however, you will need to hold several of the other provinces for the bonuses they give (attack twice in a turn, attack any non-stronghold province, start with a base, or simply more requisition with which to buy honor guard units or defense troops).
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'', being an RTS with RPGElements, has both Main and Optional Quests, which usually give rare items or advantages to the player. The expansion's Blood Elf campaign has a secret TowerDefense level which gives you an extra hero in the next level if you manage to win.

* ''VideoGame/NetHack'' has two:
** The Gnomish Mines, a BonusDungeon which has Minetown halfway down (with guaranteed shops and a temple) and a guaranteed [[spoiler:luckstone]] at the bottom.
** The ''[[BlockPuzzle Sokoban]]'' BonusDungeon, four levels with lots of food, a guaranteed ring and wand on each level, and either [[spoiler:a bag of holding]] or [[spoiler:an amulet of reflection]] at the end of the final level.
* ''VideoGame/GearHead'' features both more conventional sidequests that can be completed once, and also constantly refreshing series of random quests. The random quests are generated by creating events in the gameworld, and then creating quests based on those events. For example, if a city is under attack, you can travel there and talk to members of the military to get quests to help fight enemy forces, or if you're well-liked by a town's mayor they may ask you to help with renegotiating contracts for town services with the corporations. Watching the news will give you some hints on where these quests are, or you can wander around and stumble upon them.
* ''VideoGame/{{Elona}}'' has a job board in most towns with quests that cover all the sidequests types above. Jobs are regularly added and removed as time passes. They're a good way for a new character to get some starting capital, or can be used by a higher-level character who wants resources like platinum coins or music tickets.

[[folder:Role Playing Game]]
* ''VideoGame/CapellasPromise'' has forty listed sidequests in the quest log, though most of the optional postgame dungeons and optional characters aren't listed, including the one that requires you to finish all forty listed quests.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}} Episode 2'' was condemned for having what many have argued the vast majority of its gameplay be in the form of crappy Fed Ex sidequests and minigames.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** After seeing how much time players spent on the much more limited sidequests in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'', Bethesda responded by adding dozens of unique sidequests and an infinite number of [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly generated]] sidequests in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]''. (Though they do get repetitive rather quickly.)
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' drops the infinite randomly generated sidequests in favor of having non-random LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests, and even has an in-story explanation for why your character would do them. (You're a spy for the Empire and need to keep up a cover identity as a freelance adventurer, cleverly playing with TakeYourTime.) The Guilds and Factions all have their own [[SideQuestSideStory Side Quest Side Stories]], which are nearly as expansive as the main quest itself.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' keeps the trend going with plenty of sidequests available and expansive faction questlines as well. However, the main quest's [[ContinueYourMissionDammit sense of urgency conflicts rather sharply]] with the still sidequest-focused gameplay.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' continues the trend, with dozens of sidequests available and plenty more in the faction questlines. It also has a "Radiant Quest" system that revisits the same ground as ''Daggerfall'''s procedural generation to the same effect.
* ''Franchise/BaldursGate''
** ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' is just full of lazy, lazy gits always asking you to go and fetch them a book, a sword, a dead body, a scroll, or something else that's often less than thirty feet away. To the point where your character has the [[LampShade opportunity]] to go on [[RantInducingSlight a long tirade]] that anyone who has ever played [=RPGs=] will agree with. Your journal will be full of [[DeadpanSnarker snark]] about it.
** ''VideoGame/BaldursGate2'' is famous (amongst other things) for having ''no'' pure {{Fetch Quest}}s. Subverted and parodied in "Throne of Bhaal", where you can subcontract a recovery quest to younger adventurers you just depetrified. They try to kill you for more loot, but reload the game after you slaughter them.
** It also has ''one'' pure FetchQuest but you have to go out of your way and [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor wish]] for "[[ExactWords A quest unlike any other]](Sic)". [[HilarityEnsues You then have to find a gong which ends up being]] [[ItMakesSenseInContext a cow dung shovel]].
* ''VideoGame/GhostTales'' gives you some optional sidequests to complete. Some are mandatory for the main game, but you will be presented with some that are available for a limited time.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' has a clever subversion of optional {{Fetch Quest}}s. An old witch will only teach the PC magic if he fetches her three seemingly-innocuous and useless items: some herbs, rags and a fish. Not only do the apparently pointless errands actually have meaning attached to them but the items themselves are used to create spells.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' had a good deal of them as well. The second game made it easier to find the minor ones by means of a ''Trouble'' center, where {{NPC}}s would put up help requests.
* It is traditional in ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts'' for every playable character to unlock a personal sidequest once TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon shows up on the world map. These sidequests contain the character's InfinityPlusOneSword, and usually fill out their CharacterDevelopment. In addition, the later two games come with game-long sidequests for certain characters that complement or replace the last-dungeon-cued one.
* This idea has unfortunately spread to the PSP game ''VideoGame/CrisisCore''. There are 300 missions and just the very first one is required to continue with your game. What's worse is that there are only eight or nine "dungeons" the missions take place in with varying parts of them blocked off and all of them boil down to "find all enemies visible on the map and kill them", meaning the gameplay requires you do to the same thing over and over and OVER again...
* ''VideoGame/TheLastRemnant'' has a wide variety of sidequests, which is the main way to unlock map locations and the ability to hire some powerful people. There's also Guild Tasks which are similar in function but aren't classed as quests.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' has six optional sidequests that can be performed between the end of the main quest up to the final boss and the actual fight with that boss. So much LevelGrinding is needed to defeat it, though, that they are pretty necessary [[NewGamePlus on your first playthrough]], anyway.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' is full of {{Broken Bridge}}s and situations which end in benefits for the party (like, say, a nice new airship) and quite a lot of them are just sidequests woven into the main plot, or sidequests that remove something to inhibit you - come on, do heroes normally have to beat up some guy when he chains up their airship?
** The second half of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is free form. There are three missions you have to do, but other than that, the missions are all side-quests, with rewards like powerful magic and recovering your party members.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', most are contained within the Gold Saucer location.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' averts this with two of the mini-games, as they are required to play in order to advance the story.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'' is a game constructed almost entirely out of sidequests.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' has many sidequests, one example of which is killing of [[BountyHunter "marks"]]. Actually, you could say most of this game are sidequests.
** Similarly, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has sixty-four side quests available in Chapter 11. All of them revolve around killing a fairly powerful enemy.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' series has quite a few of them, but the one that stands out is ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'', which has ''one hundred and twenty'' of them... that came in the box. With DLC, this gets upgraded to over one hundred and eighty. True, the majority of them are either {{Fetch Quest}}s or killing a certain enemy a number of times and/or in a certain way, but the rewards are almost always worth it, such as class-exclusive armour, rare [[ItemCrafting alchemy]] ingredients, or even [[PrestigeClass new Vocations]]. This is a JustifiedTrope as well, your PC is part of a race of {{Winged Humanoid}}s called [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Celestrians]], who ''all'' have [[JustifiedTrope justified]] ChronicHeroSyndrome.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' features many optional quests, most of which involve you assisting other NPC adventurers, in addition to many optional dungeons and bosses. Most of these quests are [[GuideDangIt difficult to accomplish if you don't know what you are doing]], so it will probably take multiple playthroughs to beat them all.
* In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga'', the Castle Town has two sidequests; you need to find a man's missing 'Beanlets' and dig up ancient artifacts for another man.
%%* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights''
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' has a subversion. The loyalty missions are under the plot-relevant "Missions", but are mostly kinda-sorta optional. You had ''better'' get OneHundredPercentCompletion of them [[EarnYourHappyEnding if you know what's good for you]].
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' has a ton, and you wouldn't realize half of them actually are sidequests. How can you tell? In [[UpdatedRerelease Legends]], there are special ranks for completing these things, included ''[[FetchQuest catching 1000 fish]]''.
* ''VideoGame/ExitFate''. The majority of your 75-person crew roster are optional. How do you get them? Side quests! And if you get them all, you unlock the [[spoiler:Shadow character]] {{Bonus Boss}}es. More side quests!
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' not only has a ton of side-quests, it even gives you an Achievement for completing 75% of them. The achievement is called "[[TakeThatAudience Easily Sidetracked]]" The sequel features many as well, some of which come back to haunt or reward you as the game goes on. One notable type is the inverse fetch quests, where you find an unusual item then locate someone who can make use of it.
* VideoGame/MightAndMagic tended to have a fair number of sidequests. VI, in a minor twist, made a fair number of them connected to the main story... in ways that you don't find out until the end of the sidequest, and maybe not even then if you miss a single chest or fail to read that letter you found.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/DreamfallTheLongestJourney''. At one point, Zoe must complete one that involves a lot of running around. She comments on this and there's an option to be lazy and skip a step--with its own consequences.
* The Franchise/{{Pokemon}} contests, which were first introduced in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire''.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', sidequests range from single-step item deliveries, going through a very long ChainOfDeals, to entire playable chapters that are optional.
* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', Elizabeth, or in ''[[UpdatedRerelease Portable]]'', Theo, offers nearly ''one hundred-fifty'' different requests throughout the game, some of which need to be unlocked by completing others, not to mention filling the Persona Compendium.
* ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}}'' has a couple in the first game. There's the Brownie quest with Sam, accessible only at 5 o'clock, rescuing Princess Darcy with the Teardrop of Morris, found by fighting Hunter on Cherry Hill, and the Underwater Creature you give Dream Shells to in order to unlock the Underwater Health Spa.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series generally have a game-spanning storyline that consists of a handful of major quests in key locations and a plethora of sidequests to fill out the world, such as rescuing a town from raiders or clearing out monsters from an abandoned mine. The results of these quests may determine the fate of settlements and people you come across in your travels.
* ''VideoGame/KisekiSeries'' Has what is called "jobs" that players can fulfill outside of the story. Some may be a bit harder than others, despite that they garner great rewards.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsOfColdSteel'' Is more fleshed out and more streamlined than that of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsInTheSky'' as the optional jobs are mixed with the required tasks.

[[folder: Simulation Game ]]
* ''VideoGame/RuneFactory2'' has an optional sidequest composed almost entirely of fetch quests. The townspeople post requests on a message board that you fulfill to win their money and affection. Marvelous and/or Neverland apparently thought that wasn't enough, so ''VideoGame/RuneFactory3'' adds a mailbox and a message-delivering owl in addition to the message board. (Each one can only have one request fulfilled per day, so a total of three can be done per day if each one has at least one request.)

[[folder: Survival Horror]]
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' has an optional room in Umbrella's facility that can only be accessed in Scenario B. However, in order to get to the room, the player character in Scenario A has to unlock the first lock on the door to the room, then the second character has to release the second lock in Scenario B. The room contains [[DemonicSpiders three Lickers]] and a submachine gun. The weapon is a good find if you had the character in Scenario A take the same weapon from the police station weapons locker. You don't have to go to the double locked room to complete the game, but if you want the machine gun or want to get more ammo for it, it's there.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3'' has a minor side quest with a key item in the disused disposal facility. You get a key that has a scannable card on the key ring and it's used to open a door. However, if you take the key to a certain machine, you can insert the card into it to change its ID. The newly written tag can then be used a bit later on to open a weapons locker that contains a [[InfinityPlusOneSword rocket launcher]]. You can still defeat the FinalBoss without the rocket launcher, but having it makes the fight easier.

[[folder: Turn Based Strategy ]]
* ''VideoGame/BlazingSouls'' [[SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer has so much side content that you don't even know what part of it is required to advance the story]], [[GuideDangIt and you need to do every sidequest and nail everything right in order to get the]] TrueEnding. That said, this is true of basically all Creator/IdeaFactory games of this genre.
* ''Videogame/FinalFantasyTactics'' opens up a lot in Chapter 4. The PSP version even added new sidequests.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2 and its sequel]] both have tons of sidequests (out of 300 missions, around 30 are mandatory to see the ending). The sequel has up to 400 missions if you count random encounters etc.
* ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre'' is quite unusual for its genre, in its approach in which the game opens almost completely after you do the first half of Chapter 4. In the [[VideoGameRemake PSP version]], you get new quests in earlier chapters, too.

[[folder: Wide Open Sandbox ]]
* The ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games all feature numerous side-missions that are not essential for completion, but often give you abilities that will make the game easier, such as fireproofing (for completing the firefighting mission) or the ability to get out of jail for free (for completing the vigilante mission).
* ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun'' has collector cards that contain items from [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons the cartoon]] (Such as [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS9E1TheCityOfNewYorkVsHomerSimpson crab juice]]), collecting all in a level unlocked a multi player bonus track that was specific to the level, collecting all in the game allowed you (in level 3) to trade all of them (although they're still there in the pause menu) for a ticket to the "Itchy and Scratchy: 300 Yard Gash" from the Comic Book Guy.

!!Non-video game examples:

[[folder: LARP]]
* ''LARP/OtakonLARP'' naturally has a plot that's supposed to string together the events of the weekend, but you wouldn't necessarily know it from the individual players [[QuestGiver inventing their own side goals and quests]]. "Player Specialists" often run a storyline that runs parallel to the GM plot, making what looked like a side quest part of the overall story.

* [[Characters.ClassicalMythology Herakles]] makes this trope OlderthanFeudalism as he frequently had unrelated adventures ([[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu like wrestling '''Death''' to return someone that had died]]) while performing his [[FetchQuest 12 Labours]]. To the Ancient Greek tropers this was known as a Parergon (plural "parerga").

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'': Karn is obsessed with these, defending them with "Sidequests are an efficient way to increase experience", and once admonishing Ardam that he needs to get his priorities straight when he complains about the team going on sidequests instead of saving the world.
* [[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Roy Greenhilt]], on the other hand, hates [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0349.html wasting time]] [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0134.html on sidequests.]] And Tarquin [[ItsAllAboutMe refuses to be one]].
* In ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', Red Mage points out in [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2002/08/02/episode-180-headin-to-pravoka/ strip 180]] that sidequests are the primary source of EXP for adventuring parties, and are what distinguishes them from thugs and monsters.
* In ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}'', Vriska and Tavros [[HeroOfAnotherStory apparently]] spent quite a while doing side quests on the Land of Maps and Treasure, hoarding wealth and experience.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Ian's Adventures in Morrowind'' ([[http://web.archive.org/web/20030627014843/machall.com/morrowind/page8.html archived here]]).
-->'''Dagoth Ur''': What the hell are you doing here? I'm the end boss!
-->'''Ren''': Correction, you ''were'' the end boss. That's my job now...
-->'''Dagoth Ur''': But you can't just skip to the end of the game without doing any of the 400 side missions!?
-->'''Ren''': Fine then, you can go tramping around this God forsaken rock for years on end, doing odd jobs for complete strangers, which in some twisted way ends up saving the whole world for no reason at all...
%%* {{Deconstruct|ion}}ed in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbUqEPUZ-ds this]].
* Parodied in the WebOriginal/KingDragonCanon ([[https://youtu.be/Uq20WAuTUdQ link]])
-->'''Archebald''': Shouldn't we be saving Prince Horace from King Dragon?
-->'''Dennis''': Will you relax? I am trying to find every pinecone, okay?