A way to introduce a specific storyline progression to an otherwise Wide Open Sandbox video game is to give the player a Stat Meter representing their current fame (or infamy) in the game world and only unlock main story quests after a certain threshold therein has been reached, whether by sidequesting or other interactions with the environment. Of course, this can also be applied to sidequests themselves.
- World of Warcraft has always had gear locked behind certain levels of reputation, but Mists of Pandaria took the reputation mechanic to the next level by locking some of the story quests behind it, namely the Golden Lotus storyline (removed in patch 5.4), Klaxxi and Shado-Pan storylines, and the patch 5.1 Alliance and Horde storylines. In all cases, the story is told in small chunks, with a specific reputation level to proceed to the next one, mostly by doing daily quests.
- While this does crop up again in the latest expansion - Legion - it is only confined to a single faction; one with whom the player only interacts once they reach the new level cap of 110 and are able to venture to Suramar; a story-centric zone which is home to the Nightfallen, an underground resistance faction comprised of exiles from the Nightborne, who are now living with the Legion patrolling the streets like an occupying army. So not only does the player have to become sufficiently badass for the Nightfallen's leader to even try contacting Dalaran, they then have to get in said leader's good graces so that their cause progresses.
- Need for Speed: Underground has a style gate for certain points in the campaign, where you had to customize your car to reach a set stylish rating.
- Uncharted Waters:
- In the original game, the King of Portugal only hands out missions after you raise your Fame to certain levels by doing sidequests for merchants and guild halls (or by buying over ports, or by defeating pirates and Portugal's enemies, or by discovering new lands, or...). However, massive Sequence Breaking can ensue if your fame rises too fast, to the point where you can be sent to Save the Princess while still a lowly Squire (instead of the intended endgame Duke).
- In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, the various royals' missions are handed out the same way as in the original game, but so do some story missions (the ones that are not handed out immediately after beating the previous ones). Additionally, there are now three types of fame (explorer, merchant, combat), and each character has to raise one of them to advance their respective storyline. The kings, however, react dynamically to your fame and only hand out missions pertaining to your highest score (so if your combat fame eclipses your explorer fame, your king will stop asking you for discoveries and instead start sending you after pirates).
- This is a core mechanic of Dragon Age: Inquisition: by doing sidequests and exploration, you get Power for the eponymous organization, which can be used to scout out new world areas and unlock main story missions.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Certain Guild and Faction missions are only available once you reach a certain rank within said organization, which requires certain levels of internal reputation (as well as meeting the skill level requirements). This reputation (which functions something like an Alliance Meter within the organization) is raised by doing smaller sidequests for the faction. However, no single guild hall offers enough of them for you to raise your rank to the top. You'll need to seek out additional Quest Givers within the organization.
- More like a Fame Bypass/Backdoor: Normally, you need to visit all Great House nobles and Ashlander chiefs to convince them that you are The Messiah, and only then will the Corrupt Church listen to your claims. But if you are already famous enough (at least level 20, with at least 50 Reputation,) the Archcanon will grant you a meeting immediately, allowing you to skip what would otherwise be a very long quest.
- Oblivion has something similar with the Heaven Stones, which can only be activated and grant you their Greater Powers after the sum of your Fame and Infamy reaches a certain value. Also, the Knight of the Nine expansion has an inversion; it requires your character to be free of any infamy, which means (unless you've been an absolute saint for the whole game) you have to go on a pilgrimage to every single shrine in the game to receive a blessing.
- In Skyrim, becoming a thane in most holds requires, among other things, establishing a good reputation with the local population, normally by completing 3-5 minor side quests for them, which effectively functions as a fame gate to thanehood.
- In Pokémon X and Y, the Boutique in Lumiose City won't let you in if you aren't "stylish" enough. "Style" is gained by visiting various places around the city and making use of services. There are also a few places that won't serve you until you've proved you're stronger than the Pokemon League Champion.
- In the Genesis version of Shadowrun, your Reputation stat influences whether you'll be able to get into certain clubs and meet with important people. In most cases, however, you can avoid the fee by paying a bribe or cover charge, or by advancing the plot to a certain point; there's only one mandatory event where you need a high Reputation to get in at all.
- The third instalment of Gothic has this everywhere. The main character earns reputation with various factions in cities and other places around the world but is only allowed to enter some areas (usually inhabited by the city leader) after completing 75 % of the local sidequests.
- In the console version of Urbz: Sims in the City, you need to raise your "rep" high enough to unlock new districts, as well as to gain access to the VIP room in each district which contains unique features and is the only way to meet up with Darius so he can give you what you need to defeat the villain of that district.
- The DS version also has certain missions that need your "rep" high enough. Furthermore, you have four meters showing your status with the four "Rep Groups": your own, your rivals, and two others. Raising the meter for your own Rep Group earns you rewards, and filling it gives you access to their clubhouse. Filling the meter for a different Rep Group allows you to join them.
- Evil Genius has a "Notoriety" meter, which you need to fill by completing sidequests in order to progress the main quest.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Grand Theft Auto (Classic), which the missions are available to you depend on how much respect you have from each gang. There are three gangs in each level, and killing members of one gang decreases respect with that gang, and increases respect with another gang. Once your respect becomes negative with a gang, the gang stops giving you missions, and might even start shooting at you.
- In Saints Row 1 and Saints Row 2, every story mission costs a respect point to unlock. So you need to acquire respect from side missions and various actions (stunts, taking out rival gangs, cool driving, etc.). Additionally, in 2, you get unlimited respect if you pile up enough points.
- In Scarface: The World Is Yours, story missions are locked to your Reputation level.
- In the Iron Gods adventure path for Pathfinder, the party arrives at a Wretched Hive of a town where Asskicking Equals Authority. Downplayed in that the party could go straight for the final boss of the chapter right away, but building up their local reputation first by completing several sidequests makes the dungeon considerably easier.