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Overly Generous Time Limit

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So you don't want to put the pressure of a normal Timed Mission on the player; however, on the other hand, you don't want the player to be able to take their sweet, sweet time on a mission that is supposed to be urgent for story reasons, or that you otherwise don't want a player taking forever on. You could constantly nag the player to continue, or you could implement an Overly Generous Time Limit - a time limit so generous that even regular conservative play will leave you with quite a bit of time to spare, and only extremely deliberate slow play will cause the player to run out of time.

In games with scoring systems, such a timer may be used to award the player a bonus for remaining time, encouraging fast play in a way that doesn't inflate the difficulty for players who don't play for speed and just want to complete the objective at a slower and steadier pace.

Compare Absurdly High Level Cap.


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    Adventure Games 
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: One puzzle involves Guybrush getting thrown in the ocean with a heavy weight tied to his leg, and you have to figure out how to escape before he drowns. You have 10 full minutes (it's a Call-Back to an earlier joke where Guybrush bragged that he could hold his breath for 10 minutes), and the puzzle is easy enough to solve in ten seconds.
  • Shenmue and its sequel give the player time limits of a few in-game months (late November until mid-April in the first game, and until the end of June in the second). Aside from the infamous stealth segment in the first game, there isn't a lot of pressure to rush through the game, giving the player time aplenty to explore and enjoy themselves.
  • King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella has a time limit of one day, as in 24 hours. As the game is much shorter than that and restoring a saved game also restores the clock, players are unlikely to ever notice there is a time limit. A certain event advances time to nightfall because otherwise you'd have to idle for 10 - 11 hours to reach night.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards technically has a time limit, but it is eight hours and a midgame event will cancel it. Again, restoring an earlier save also restores the clock. The game doesn't even tell the player that there's a time limit, so you'd basically need to open the source code to find out.
  • Happens in one crucial point in Iconoclasts: Robin and Royal must escape a decompressing base on the moon after their messy run-in with the Starworm, which unfortunately had Royal be subjected to Mind Rape and left him in a near-catatonic state, either unable or merely unwilling to do anything except lament his failures and beg for death. Robin picks him up and carries him with her anyway. After all, the doors in the base only open for him, so she wouldn't be able to escape without him... and then you get to the door, and discover that the force of all the air in the base being sucked out into the vacuum of space has ripped the scanner panel off the wall. It's still hanging on by its wires and fully functional, but is now much too far away from the door to allow Royal to go through it, since he has to be near the panel for the door to open, and it automatically closes once he's out of range. You are given three and a half minutes to escape the base, which is far more than you need, which naturally leads you to think there must be some way to save him, so you spend that extra time trying everything you can possibly think of, without success. You give up and escape on your own. After landing safely back on the planet, Robin slumps against the escape pod and breaks down crying, and you realize that the reason the time limit was so long wasn't to be generous.

    Driving Games 
  • Time limits in modern Driving Games mainly exist to kick off idling players, but Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune has a particularly lenient timer. Typically you'll cross the finish line with at least two or even three minutes left on the clock. About the only time this is averted is in 10-Outrun Mode, where you have to pass 10 opponents with the first 9 opponents awarding bonus time; at the highest levels, a few mistakes are enough to make you run out of time and fail the challenge.
  • Some of the console-exclusive Ridge Racer games have a 10-minute time limit even though the average player is unlikely to take even 5 minutes to complete the race. Ridge Racers and Ridge Racers 2 on PSP each start a 5-minute countdown once the first-place opponent crosses the finish line, which is just as generous.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Hyrule Warriors, like most of the Warriors games, has the standard time limit for a story map or conquest-type Adventure Mode map be one hour. It almost never even comes close.

  • Most of the timed missions in City of Heroes were of this variety. The limits were in real time, starting from the moment you accepted the mission, but barring one endgame-level mission that was intended to be impossible (at least to unprepared players when it first came out), they tended to be in the one-to-two hour range, more than enough time to fully explore the site and take out everything there.
  • Every duty in Final Fantasy XIV has a time limit of at least an hour. The chances of this time limit actually being reached is so remote that duties almost always end in only one of two ways: victory for the players, or a vote to end the duty early.

    Platform Games 
  • Asterix and the Great Rescue's first level has a time limit of 3 minutes, but it's a very simple level with few enemies that can be beaten in far less than that time. The rest of the levels, on the other hand, are a marked aversion, and often require every second on the timer to get through, especially on Hard.
  • The classic Sonic the Hedgehog games required you to get through each level in every zone in 10 minutes or less, which is easily double what even the least experienced player would require, if not more (assuming that badniks or hazards don't do the job first). A few acts avert this hard, however (Carnival Night Zone Act 2 and Sandopolis Zone from Sonic 3 & Knuckles being the most infamous). In addition, the timer actually counts up from zero and gives no indication that anything will happen when you reach ten minutes, unlike the Mario games, with far less generous timers that count down to zero.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow's "Deep Jungle" level has a time limit of ten minutes. Even taking the time to explore and find all of the secrets - some of which a player only has to find once per playthrough - it's likely that a player will reach the Goal Ring with more than five minutes remaining.
  • The version of Sonic Unleashed released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have an optional mission in which you are given 45 minutes to clear Eggmanland. While it's the longest stage in the game by far, it shouldn't take nearly that long provided you do it without dying, at 15 to 20 minutes if you play extra carefully. This mission requires you clear the stage with no deaths anyway. Considering its difficulty, that may have been the real challenge behind the mission.
  • The Sponge Bob Movie Game has two time challenges for each of the driving and sliding stages, regular time challenges and “Macho” time challenges. The regular time challenges have timers so generous that you're likely to finish each one with several minutes to spare, and you're far more likely to die from the obstacles on the track than you are to come anywhere close to running out of time. The Macho time challenges, however, are quite a bit harder.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, both ray surfing minigames kill you after 3 minutes have passed and you haven't completed a lap yet. Even in the first one near the beginning of the game, players can easily do it in half that time and falling off the very narrow track is the main threat. This also applies to both Boo races, but the Boo always completes the course in about a minute and you're killed for losing anyway.
    • The Speedy Comets in the same game generally give far more time than even the least experienced player would need. The intense music and ominous red filter over the screen suggest urgency, but the player can often let Mario sleep for a few minutes before grabbing the Star. Unsurprisingly, the sequel would rework these particular comets to be more difficult.
    • "Topman Tribe Speed Run" and "Luigi's Purple Coins" are notable cases. In the former, you're given six minutes to do a level that can be done in under three, and in the latter, you're given three minutes to complete a level where the ground vanishes under your feet (and can be done in two minutes).
  • In Super Mario 3D World, apart from the levels with 30 or 100 units on the timer, most of the levels' time limits are absurdly long for the levels' lengths. Some of them even give you more time with green clocks.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Minesweeper has a timer. When it reaches 999, nothing actually happens. To quote the Real Trailer, Fake Movie by CollegeHumor:
    - What happens then?
    - Nothing, you just suck!
  • Lemmings has a time limit on every level, but in the "Fun" and "Tricky" ranks these are not meant to be a challenge, so every level gives far more time than you actually need. On some levels, such as "Only floaters can survive this", it's actually impossible to fail due to the time limit!

    Real-Time Strategy Games 
  • In the final Nod mission of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, you are given a little more than three hours to position three ICBM launchers on the map in order to destroy GDI's orbital command station before it can locate and destroy the World Altering Missile. Taking your time to build a force large enough to completely wipe out the highly defended GDI base — which isn't a mission requirement — and placing the ICBM launchers at your leisure afterwards takes an hour at most.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Baldur's Gate: Zigzagged. Whenever there is a timed quest, it is always due in several in-game days, sometimes even weeks. For example, Kivan in the Enhanced Edition will ask you to kill Tazok in the bandit camp in 7-14-20 days (depending on if you recruit him in chapter 3, 2 or 1). Getting to the bandit camp from his location, High Edge, takes at most 2 days note . The same time is roughly required to get from High Edge to the Nashkel Mines, which you need to clear in chapter 2 before unlocking the camp for chapter 3. You have plenty of time to do anything else in-between. However, if you go exploring wilderness areas far from the main road, such as those near the mountains, travel times become long and you might run out of time if you forget about your quest. Luckily, characters will remind you when it is expiring.
  • Persona 5 has the boss fight against Okumura use a hard time limit of thirty minutes. Defeating the boss at an average level for the time won't take nearly that long; Okumura is a Flunky Boss, and after defeating the last Giant Mook that he summons, he completely stops putting up any offense, and is so weak that a few regular hits will take him down. Even watching all of the mid-battle cutscenes, getting to Okumura himself takes about twenty minutes, meaning the only way to lose at that point is to intentionally let the timer run out.
    • Averted for his battle in Royal, where it's noticeably harder in that he sends out increasingly harder waves of robots instead. If you don't wipe them out in a set number of turns, they will flee and he will summon the same wave until you do, which can shave off precious time. And if you're not sufficiently prepared, especially when Cognitive Haru pitches in, and then self-destructs to potentially wipe your team, you can end up cutting it close with just less than a minute to spare.
  • Fallout 2, mostly thanks to technical limitations, has a hard-coded limit of 13 in-game years before the game suddenly throws a "The End" screen at you and brings you to the main menu. Completing the game's quests and generally doing everything there is to do in the game usually takes about 4 in-game years at most.
  • Mass Effect 2: Arrival becomes a timed mission after a certain point, with 90 minutes to complete the mission before the Reapers arrive. Unless you deliberately run out the timer to see what happens, it's not a concern. That said, parts of the mission cut to certain time intervals until you reach the finale, where you can't relax anymore.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The first mission Squall takes can have a time limit of up to 40 minutes but can easily be completed in 8 or less. You are advised to "Select a time limit. Choose one suited to your abilities. Challenging yet reasonable." The game never makes it obvious but the mission is considered part of an exam, and your marks are higher the less time you have remaining when you finish it, regardless of the time limit you chose. Beat the boss with under 7 seconds to spare for top marks.
  • Final Fantasy X-2: The final boss battle will end in defeat after thirty minutes. Most players are unlikely to see that unless they deliberately drag the battle on to see the bad ending.
  • Monster Hunter games traditionally give the player a 50-minute time limit for most quests. Whether the time limit is generous or not tends to vary; on offline single-player quests and when hunting online with a full party, quests are often over before the timer is even halfway depleted, taking maybe 10-15 minutes tops. However, should a player decide to solo a quest tailored for multiplayer, the player may find themselves in a legitimate race against the clock, especially if they choose to take on an endgame-tier monster.
  • Tyranny's first mission can become an example through Loophole Abuse. The Fatebinder must read a powerful spell called an Edict of Kyros that will kill everything in the valley, Kyros' forces and hostiles alike, on Kyros' Day of Swords. However, that is a specific day in the in-game calendar. If Kyros' Day of Swords has already passed when the Edict is read, the Fatebinder may have up to a full year to complete the mission which can take about two days if they drag their feet.

  • Summer Carnival '92 Recca has a one-hour time limit for the main mode of the game, although a good player can beat the game in about 25 minutes. Justified, as the game was made for an event, and the timer keeps ticking even if the game is paused. However, averted with Hard mode, which is longer and most players take 50 minutes to complete it, meaning that it is possible for someone to take too long on the bosses, or run out of time because they paused to take too long of a break.

    Simulation Games 
  • All missions in the Ace Combat series until Ace Combat: Assault Horizon had been timed, but while time constraints did constitute a real challenge in some of them, you could complete the main objectives of most others with a ton of time to spare. For instance, in typical Escort Missions, your time limit had normally been set to a couple minutes after whatever you escorted left the mission space (which was a scripted event).
  • The Japanese Rail Sim series features time limits, but they are at least a couple of minutes longer than your scheduled arrival times.

    Survivor Horror 
  • Resident Evil 2 gives you five minutes at the end of Scenario A to beat the mutated William Birkin. The timer starts as soon as you enter the elevator room and the fight starts right after you press the button to call the elevator, which gives you more than enough time to beat Birkin. The same five minute timer also plays out at the end of Scenario B and even though you will run down the clock a bit more due to having to travel all over the place to reach the next room, fight Mr. X, and power on the escape train, you won't ever come close to running out the clock. Birkin also shows up at the very end of Scenario B as a Post-Final Boss and you're given two minutes to beat him, which is still plenty of time to do so since it won't take you more than a minute to put him down, even if you don't use the rocket launcher you obtained previously.
  • At the end of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, a missile is launched and will hit Raccoon City. Although there's no actual timer to measure how much time you have left, it takes a good five minutes or so for the missile to arrive. It takes only a minute or so to beat Nemesis for the final time.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake) gives you ten minutes to escape at the end of the game, which is double the time limit that was present in the original game. This is due to your character having to go through a few rooms first before reaching the train and being forced to fight their respective boss enemies. Regardless, ten minutes is very generous since the bosses don't take long to defeat.

    Turn-Based Strategy Games 
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • The final mission in Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising gives you a time limit of 30 turns. If you even come close to taking this long, chances are Sturm's already wiped you out.
    • In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, an early mission gives the player a (real world) half hour to complete a mission, even though the game is turn-based. Even a novice is unlikely to take more than 5 minutes to complete the mission.
    • In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, on the mission Lin's Gambit, you are given a 40-day (turn) time limit to capture the opposing HQ or wipe out all enemies before Greyfield is able to shoot nukes to wipe you out. The meta-ranking of the game starts penalizing you for slow play after turn 12.
  • Chapter 20 in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance gives you a 20-turn time limit for a chapter that a reasonably-levelled party can complete in 5, and that's if they're not rushing.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, this is in effect for almost every mission - the time limits for the most part exist not to rush the player, but to prevent the player from sitting on their villages for 100,000 turns and going into the following missions with more gold than they'll need for the entire campaign.
  • The SNES strategy game Liberty or Death starts in the year 1775. If neither the American nor British forces claim a final victory by the time King George III dies in 1820 (45 years after the game starts), the game automatically ends in victory for America. Justified, of course, in that England’s forces would be incapable of continuing with their king dead.

Non-Videogame Examples:

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  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, under its classic rules, allowed contestants essentially unlimited time to answer questions, barring the hard limit of filming schedules. Given it was a multiple choice show where the answer is literally right in front of them, this was divisive amongst viewers who either enjoyed the fairness of the game or criticized the series's slow pacing and teasing when final answers were locked, compared to a rapid-fire, direct responses only quiz show like Jeopardy!. After some contestants essentially abused this and spent over 50 minutes on one question in some cases, the series changed the rules to implement 15-45 second timer for a long period. This was divisive however, as many of the fans of the show who stuck with it past the early peak of its popularity with Chris Tarrant in the original UK series, or past Regis Philbin's tenure in the US adaption, did so because the series was slow, and it failed to attract audiences of more rapid-fire shows like Jeopardy or Weakest Link. The revivals with Jeremy Clarkson and Jimmy Kimmel have reverted to a superficially unlimited time allowance for giving a final answer.

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