Follow TV Tropes


Take Your Time

Go To
"Armageddon tired of waiting!"
"There is apparently no crisis so imminent that will deter you from contemplating idiotic and frivolous actions."

A near-ubiquitous video game trope: no matter how urgent the hero's quest is said to be, he can almost always take as much time as desired to finish sidequests, collect items, repeatedly stay overnight at the Trauma Inn, unlock the hidden superpowers of his teammates, waste time on minigames, or even stand around doing nothing.

This is because in the vast majority of games, time only passes meaningfully in the gameworld as the player advances through the story. However, in order to progress said story, the player has to trigger an Event Flag by going somewhere or doing something specific, and until they do, time will effectively stand still.

On a smaller scale, even the most pressing, immediate tasks, such as rescuing a friend who's dangling off a cliff ledge, can be done at one's leisure, provided there isn't a number countdown ticking away on screen. Of course, the accompanying cutscene might still depict you arriving just barely in time (or only moments too late), and you can expect NPCs to nag you constantly to establish a false sense of urgency.

In effect, nothing happens unless the player causes it to happen. This is a classic Acceptable Break from Reality. Very few players would enjoy the entire game being a tight Timed Mission, or constantly being railroaded into advancing the plot, or quests and missions frequently becoming permanently missable by time advancing.

Since this trope is widely recognized, this is occasionally subverted in more recent games by a mission being time-sensitive even if there's no explicit onscreen timer. Players who assume this trope is in effect when told to hurry up may be shocked to find that the game really does mean it this time. Periodic reminders that time is running out should be taken as warnings that, unlike with Magic Countdown, you can actually fail if you dawdle too much. If there's an In-Universe Game Clock, even an offhand mention of something that won't happen for several days may be a good thing for players to worry about. Even worse is if the timer keeps going when the player is doing things like pausing, having a menu open, watching a cutscene, or in the most extreme cases, not even playing the game at all.

Compare with Offstage Waiting Room, Skewed Priorities and Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer. Contrast Stalked by the Bell, where the game will not let you take your time and may threaten you in various ways if you take too long, and Continue Your Mission, Dammit!, where you are constantly reminded of the looming threat. May overlap with Traveling at the Speed of Plot and Event-Driven Clock, when Plot Points determine the passing of time. May be caused by Orcus on His Throne.


    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • All three endings in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest are determined by how many in-game days it takes you to complete it. The clock runs and cycles through day and night when outdoors, and pauses when indoors. This means that you can spend as long as you want inside the shops and mansions without affecting either the day/night cycle or the game's runtime, giving you all the time you need to Money Grind.
  • You may sleep as much as you want in Cave Story, but the Doctor will not prepare Mimigas for experiment until your final sleep in Plantation.
  • In Jak 3, the Daystar is said to be approaching the planet with each passing day. But regardless how much you go on to do extra exploration to gain orbs, metal gems, and mini-missions, it only gets closer when progress is made during the story.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: At one point, Link has to get somewhere before the pirates do. Tetra gives Link a head start, and tells him that she'll stall the pirates until morning. Fortunately, that particular night doesn't end until Link does what he has to do (because there was a curse that made night eternal).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass lets you wander off halfway through the final boss battle if you get a Game Over. While the Big Bad is holding Tetra hostage. Lampshaded when Linebeck calls Link on it after you return to the ship after playing a minigame.
    • Lampshade hung (along with quite a few other things) by Midna in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Of course, it doesn't matter to her if you delay, because she just wants the MacGuffins, and would actually be happy enough to see your world end at first. You can even dawdle around after Midna gets hit with Lanayru's light, but there's little reason to, as you can't leave the map in a direction that doesn't take you to Castle Town, or she'll plead with you to hurry to Zelda and you'll automatically turn around.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time famously takes place over two time periods set seven years apart. Interestingly, one of the songs played on the ocarina, the Sun's Song, has the effect of advancing time to the following daybreak or sunset. But no matter how many times it's played, nothing meaningful will ever happen, young Link will never age, etc.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask averts this. In-game time passes consistently and is very important, as certain events will only take place at certain times (i.e. the Curiosity Shop only being open at night) and the moon will crash into the world if you take too long. The game manages to get away with this by allowing you to go back in time to complete events you missed. Likewise, once the Four Giants hold the moon in place and you go inside it, you can take as long as you want since the giants' strength never gives out.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has a justification in the form of time travel being involved, though there are still cases like when the Imprisoned starts acting up, and everyone is shouting at you to hurry and go beat it up. You can technically do as much sidequesting and stocking up you want, because the monstrosity will just wait for you to arrive before trying to escape. It's similarly justified in the end with Demise when he is unleashed — he is so impressed by Link, a human, actually being willing to stand up to him and fight instead of praying for the goddess to save them that he actually agrees to hold off on destroying the world until Link faces him on the field on honor in one-on-one combat to the death.
      Demise: If you truly desire to raise your blade against the world I would build, come for me. I've waited eons to return. I can spare a few more moments to let you decide.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you rescue Zelda and hide her in a sanctuary, then set out to acquire the necessary Plot Coupons to get the Master Sword. No matter how fast you are completing the next three dungeons, you are informed that she was re-kidnapped just before you return. Later when are trying to re-rescue her from Aghanim, he will always have her with him and seemingly sacrifice her, no matter how fast you are to complete the dungeon.
    • Both played straight and subverted in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Before the final fight, Vaati states that when a bell chimes three times it will be too late to save Zelda. The first two always happen at the same time no matter what, but it's subverted when you're fighting three Darknuts one room away from Vaati. If you take too long, the third chime rings.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you're told at the very start of the game that Calamity Ganon will soon break free and you need to stop him before then, but you can spend months of time in-game just exploring the world without him escaping. That being said, you are also told that Ganon's seal should hold for a while, and everyone recommends you spend as much time as possible preparing instead of charging off half-cocked and getting immediately killed. Ganon will eventually break free of Zelda's seal on him, but only at the exact moment you cross the threshold of the Sanctum where he is trapped.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: As in the previous game, you can spend as long as you like getting all your ducks in a row before fighting Ganondorf. The game is both better and worse about this; on the one hand, Link doesn't actually know where Ganondorf or Zelda are at the start of the game (though the player can still rush the final battle if they know where it is). The main quest takes Link around the map to free the various regions of their Scourges, gathering allies and defeating Ganondorf's plans. On the other hand, apparently he was just sitting there waiting the entire time. When Link arrives, he finally finishes restoring his old power and fights Link personally, leaving the question of why he didn't just do that before.
    • CollegeHumor digs at the idea of Link not having this trope in effect here. (NSFW)
  • In Little Big Adventure II (aka Twinsen's Odyssey) a certain event partway through the game puts your home planet in danger of being smashed into pieces by its own moon, which is being pushed towards it by a huge reactor. Since the game doesn't have any time limit, you can wander around the planet you get stuck on as long as you want. Certain events will trigger a short video of the moon moving, but the collision never happens — unless you get killed after the reactor is launched, in which case you will get the "end of the world" game-over cutscene.
  • Mega Man Legends 2: After Sera heads off to Elysium, regardless of how long you take to go after her, when you reach the Final Boss room she reveals that she had already finished preparing the Carbon Reinitialization Program. However, she decided to wait for Mega Man Trigger to show up because she wanted to personally defeat him first, believing this would resolve her feelings of jealousy over the Master's favoritism towards him.
  • In NieR: Automata, absent a ticking clock or environmental hazard, this trope is played straight, in that you can take as long getting to your destination as you like. However, if the story says time is a factor, and you decide to wander off the beaten path to do something? The game will abruptly stop, give you a brief summary of how your dawdling completely undermined your objectives, and hand you one of the Joke Endings for your trouble. Hope you saved before that.
  • Ōkami:
    • The trope is usually played straight, but there's one exception: Oni Island before the next day arrives and it moves to a new location. Wait too long, and you'll have to start over.
    • A later sequence in the game tells you about the coming Day of Darkness, when the sun will be swallowed and there's nothing you can do about it. Since you're the Goddess of the Sun, this would be a Very Bad Thing but of course, no matter how much you dawdle, the sun is only swallowed the moment the final boss stares you down, leaving you powerless.
  • As you enter the last quarter of Shadow of the Colossus, it's revealed in a cutscene that Emon and his entourage are chasing you, and are just over the horizon from the forbidden lands. However, the last four Colossi all require lengthy voyages through the land to reach and protracted battles to defeat. Dormin announces before you fight the last one that you need to get a shift on, but you can still go sightseeing or food hunting, and the inevitable won't take place until just after you've killed the last Colossus.
  • The final submarine level in Tomb Raider Chronicles has the sub Lara is in sinking to the bottom of the ocean. She even urges the NPC to hurry up and help her find a way to escape, but you can take as long as you want finding the key items and secrets.

    Action Game 
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker tells you that there are hostages who will be gassed, and you supposedly have two minutes to save them (complete with the Joker counting down). In reality, you can take as long as you need to find a way to save them. Though this is because the Joker was bluffing about the bomb.
    • This occurs in every game. Once you have control of Batman, you can explore as much as possible, obtaining Riddler secrets and upgrades, before you have to move to the next plot point.
  • Happens in Cuphead: Despite the Devil saying that Cuphead and Mugman must collect the Soul Contracts before the midnight of tomorrow, players can take much time as they want in the game. They can even have a rematch with the beaten debtors!
  • Dead Rising is famous for averting this as hard as possible, since every single Case and Scoop is timed. The only exception to this rule is the very first Case, which actually runs for the entire length of the game if the player lets it, meaning that Brad and Carlito can potentially have a 72 hour long gunfight.
  • In God of War, an oracle is dangling from a rope at one point. You need to solve a puzzle to be able to climb up to the room's high platform, which sets off an Event Flag for a Timed Mission in which you must navigate an obstacle course to reach her in time. However, you can take as long as you want in solving the puzzle that allows you to reach that platform, despite her cries.
  • In the Spider-Man Trilogy games, if you take too long to rescue a person about to fall they will drop. However, once you've grabbed them it's treated as completely reasonable to walk all around New York City with them. This can lead to some pretty funny results if you're investigating a random crime, in which case you're not ever punished for failing, taking too long, or going outside the event area. As a result, you carry around things like muggers, balloons, or even a purse, which doesn't impede your abilities at all, and you can carry it back to its owner for a free health refill. You can even take time out from fighting a pair of battlesuits to rescue a little girl's balloon, and the health refill you get from this will actually enhance your fight with the suits.
    • Also happens with the plot in Spider-Man 2. Unless a timer specifically shows up, you can spend ages swinging around solving random crimes and you will always be just sliiiiightly late, when rationally you should be showing up three days after class ended.

    Adventure Game 
  • An inversion occurs in Grim Fandango. No matter how long it takes you to figure out how to unlock the lighthouse during Year 2, Manny will get there just a moment too late to save the girl. He will, however get there in time to hear her last words and receive a clue, before she turns into flowers and blows away. This is not the artsy symbolism that it sounds like.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: On one hand, you can look at each one of your choices whether you will fail or succeed. On the other hand, not making a decision quickly in some scenarios will result in an automatic failure. On the other other hand, in one specific scenario, letting the timer run out gives you the Presumed Dead ending in Fleeing The Complex.
  • A perfect playthrough of the Adobe Flash game I Have 1 Day sees you confronting the final boss with all the tools and knowledge necessary to unravel the villain's elaborate scheme. If you then proceed to do precisely nothing for 10 seconds you'll be swiftly defeated, with the game questioning why you went through all that effort just to do jack diddly squat.
  • The Journeyman Project series lets you take your take your San Dimas Time, as long as you're not in the present. If you're in the present in the first game, you can become un-made by the incoming history-altering "distortion wave" if you dally.
  • Myst III: Exile starts off with the villain stealing an important linking book and running away. As you follow him to another world and run after him, he is always just far enough ahead of you so you can see him dash out of sight. But it doesn't matter how long you wait before you take the next step following him. In fact, you can just sit down and read the diary Atrus gave you, for example, and then continue the chase. He will still only be a few steps ahead of you.
    • In Riven: The Sequel to Myst, during your quest you learn that the world is coming to an end. But no matter how long you explore, it'll always be a peaceful sunny day with nary an earthquake in sight (at least until you strike the death blow to end the world). There is one timed interaction in the game, but you get a long window and three chances (with clear warnings) to make the "right" choice.
  • In The Pandora Directive, at one point, you have to light a stick of dynamite and throw it at a door. You can light the dynamite while in another building, go outside, over to the other building where you have to throw it, throw the dynamite, then just as lazily walk to a safe distance. The dynamite won't blow until you're out of reach anyway.
  • Mostly played straight in Quest for Glory I, III, IV, and V, though specific sequences are timed (for example if you dawdle too long during the final confrontation with the Big Bad, he'll take you down). II averts the trope altogether, with hazards, sidequests, and other opportunities only being available on specific in-game dates, and are permanently missable, possibly resuling in Unwinnable situations or a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • Though the time limits in the second game are very obvious. Whenever an elemental appears, you have 3 days to deal with it, and it destroys the city on the fourth day. The comments you get from NPCs are increasingly anxious as the days go on, with their comments on the last day pointing out that the elemental is about to destroy everything. Sidequests are less forgiving, but they are specifically pointed to as soon as they are available. For example, you might get a message from the innkeeper as soon as you wake up that the guard at the city entrance wants to speak to you, which is avoidable only if you stay out all which case you've almost certainly been out in the desert all night and will automatically see the guard at the city entrance next time you return to the city.
  • In The Walking Dead Episode 1, Lilly's dad's heart acts up, and you have to complete several tasks in order to get into the pharmacy for some nitroglycerin. With Larry being a Grade A Jerkass and Lilly not being much better, you may be tempted (especially if you've played to the end of Episode 3 before) to take your sweet time. Go right ahead! Despite the urgency of the situation, not only will his condition not worsen no matter how much time you take, no one will even nag you for dawdling while a man's life is on the line!!
  • Lampshaded in Waking Mars: If you discover sentient life, they will convey extremely urgent-seeming requests to you, ultimately requesting that you make a choice for them. Since the designers didn't want to make this a Point of No Return, you can walk out of the room and explore the rest of the caves, even though this makes no logical sense. You can even make your way all the way back to the base camp and chat with your partner, Amani, who will marvel at how you discovered intelligent life, adding 'Then you just left them in there. That was kind of weird of you. Hope they didn't need anything important.'
  • Flower, Sun and Rain is a Deconstructive Parody of this trope. The protagonist is caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop (or so it seems) where he needs to prevent a plane from being blown up by terrorists, but every time he tries to do so, he winds up being unwillingly Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer; all the dumb side-quests, pointless mini-games, and progress-slowing roadblocks take so much time to get past that the plane always blows up before you can get there because you can't actually take your time in this situation.
  • Both averted and played straight in Don't Escape: 4 Days in the Wasteland. Averted in the sense in that the player is allotted only a limited amount of time each day to prepare for the night threat, and certain actions, such as traveling between locations or setting up barriers, will use up time. However, those are the only actions that ever cause time to advance. The player is otherwise allowed to dawdle as much as they wish, including in seemingly time-critical situations such as fending off an attacking spider or rescuing a party member dangling off a ledge.
  • In Minnie & Friends: Yume no Kuni o Sagashite, Minnie occasionally gets emails from her boyfriend Mickey that the door to the titular Land of Dreams will close in (x) amount of time, but time will only advance if Minnie does something to progress further through the story, and can take as much time wandering around and sending emails to her friends as she pleases.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, your very first mission after the tutorial tasks you with stopping a Base on Wheels on collision course to a dam, with thousands of lives in danger. Despite the urgency, this mission has no time limit and there is nothing stopping you from teleporting back to your home base to talk with people, answer some quiz or play training missions. It becomes even more ridiculous when later in the game after Dr. Doom steals Odin's power and his misuse is starting to unravel reality that the team is sent on a quest to gain special items in order to stand a chance against him, there is no need to rush even though all of existence is at stake. You can go back to your base right in the middle of a important mission where you need to steal an important item from Galactus while he is threatening to devour the whole Skrull homeworld and you can stall for as long as you want, even go back to previous locations in the game.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book does not have an overall time limit. When the boss Luard appears, there is no rush to take him on (which is a good thing, because he's quite hard and you may need to level up a bit). Side quests sometimes have to be completed by a particular time of day or day of the week. Rumours that you buy are on a hidden timer, and expire if you don't investigate them soon enough.
  • Born Under the Rain: On the final day, Odion notes that Masud's soulless body is at risk of dehydration if they don't get Anuket's Tear soon, but the game seems to be on an Event-Driven Clock, where the only events that matter, are beating the bosses. So the party can train up with Tabia as much as they want, to prepare, and gather any Relics they missed, etc.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm's largest bonus dungeon, the Deep Web, becomes available during the final chapter, while the Internet is literally being erased and everyone you meet is frantically urging you to get on with the plot. The fate of virtual reality is in your hands, Catie – but sure, go ahead and spend a few hours exploring this random ancient temple. The villain and her pet Mechanical Abomination will just sit tight and wait until you're finished.
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: Downplayed. While in-game time doesn't affect anything, staying at the inn five times will result in Lord Doldrum nuking Somewhere.
  • Bug Fables: In the final chapter, the Wasp King can get within a short walking distance of his goal, yet it is possible to leave the area and do various sidequests with him not advancing until the story is. Regardless of how much time is spent on sidequests, Team Snakemouth will always encounter the Wasp King just as he gets rid of the barrier around the Everlasting Sapling. This post discusses this trope as well, set right after the Wasp King's first encounter with Team Snakemouth at the Ant Kingdom.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Very well done in a game that revolves around discovering and mastering time travel, the party receives forewarning of the Big Bad's attack and has all the time in the world to prepare, as long as they eventually travel to that moment. It's possible to skip straight to the final confrontation (and get instantly splattered) for most of the game.
    • However, no matter how many times you sleep in an inn or Crono's house (or a jail cell), the Millennial Festival will not end until after you defeat the final boss.
    • Done horrifically for Robo's sidequest, where you have to shut down a rogue AI trying to kill off the remnants of the human race. While there's no timer on the quest, every time you enter the Processing Room, that conveyor belt will constantly be feeding humans into a machine and pooping out what's implied to be their souls. There is nothing you can do about it other than watch and listen to their screams, as the conveyor belt will stop you from getting on (and body-blocking the humans). You are then reminded that the only way to stop this is to complete the quest, and the machine never runs out of victims.
  • Dark Cloud 2 is an interesting example because not only does the game feature a day and night cycle, it keeps track of how many in-game days have passed since you started playing. Griffon's army is closing in on the Gundorada Workshop in the future? No problem! (Even though it appears that the game uses San Dimas Time). Monica is stuck in a volcano with Gaspard? I think I'll go catch some fish and then maybe race them! Griffon brought his flying castle through time to terrorize the present? Let's go to an old dungeon and see what prizes we can get from Spheda!
  • In Dragon Quest IV, you enter a village to learn that a girl has been kidnapped and the kidnappers demand a magic bracelet be brought by midnight. Now, the map world has day and night, and you can run around all you like, or take a few nights at the inn, or the like, before continuing. And you almost certainly must do so (since by the time you get to this point, it's too early to attempt the cave where the bracelet is). But when you finally get around to moseying into the graveyard at night, there they are, waiting for you...
    • Early in Dragon Quest V, you must free the nearby haunted castle of evil spirits to...keep some kids from teasing a cat. If you die, you'll just be dragged back to the inn and will have to try again the next night. Fortunately, your dad has a cold, and won't get over it until you finish the quest.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, this is very noticeable in two places. The first is the duel with Dhoulmagus, who briefly talks to you when you open the door and makes it sound like he's gonna attack right away, but you can outright flee the room and go training. Also, Rhapthorne the dog heads into Savella Cathedral after you follow him. If you don't open the gate and head into the High Priest's room, though, you can go to Neos and train for hours on Liquid Metal Slimes, following it up with some gambling at Baccarat.
  • If you Take Your Time rescuing the seals in Drakengard, visiting other places, perhaps grinding away if you feel like it, The Empire will take its time in destroying them. It should be said that every single level is on a time limit. Thankfully, unless the level has a significant plot reason to be especially urgent, the time given is either 30 minutes or a full hour depending on the size of the area, which is generally more than enough.
  • Eiyuu Senki: The World Conquest has a turn counter and the plot hinges on uniting the world before a force of darkness destroys it, but the player can use as many turns as necessary to complete the game.
  • In a sense, all of Eternal Sonata falls under this trope. You're exploring the dreamworld of a man who has less than four hours left to live, yet no matter how long you spend in any area, he doesn't get any closer to death until the story gods say he is.
    • You might be able to explain this away under the fact that time passes rather inconsistently in dreams as compared to the outside world. Who hasn't heard of a five year dream or something like that?
  • Final Fantasy does this quite often:
    • Final Fantasy IV. Two of your allies go off to confront Zemus inside the moon. No matter how long it takes you to get to the center of the moon, they are always just beginning their fight.
    • A very blunt example comes from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. At the start of the Gathering episode, a single scene of five heroes confronting Cecil and the Mysterious Girl progresses in an improbable speed as you control the other heroes (Rydia, Edge, Luca, and Man in Black) to travel around the world in an airship, traverse deep into dungeons, sleep at countless inns, free more than 4 Eidolons which are at completely opposite directions of the world, and then return to Baron just in time for climactic battles.
    • Final Fantasy V lets you rest as much as you want while your ship is being attacked by monsters. You can't leave, but the boss just waits by the bow of the ship for you to come fight him, however long it takes.
    • You can take your time getting to the Floating Continent in Final Fantasy VI. But instead of always making it in the nick of time, you arrive just in time to watch The End of the World as We Know It. It's implied that the villains were, in fact, waiting for your party (specifically Celes) to show up.
    • No matter how long you take going about your business in Final Fantasy VII, the Meteor just hangs in the sky and never comes down. You can spend days being Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer and you'll still have time to stop the Meteor whenever you're ready.
      • After Diamond Weapon emerges from the ocean to attack Midgar, you get to actually see it wade and waddle its way towards its target, and you can't attack it until it lands. The kicker? If you just sit there and watch it go forward, it will eventually just stop right in front of Midgar and politely wait for you to kick its ass.
      • When Tifa is captured by Shinra and is tied down to a chair in a gas chamber, you have to manipulate her head, legs, and arms to pick up the key in front of her feet. During this time, the gas is being pumped into the room. No matter how long you take, the gas never actually kills Tifa and she's not even harmed by it.
      • After Aerith leaves your party to summon Holy at the ancient city, you learn that Sephiroth knows where she is and will kill her. Despite your party urging you to save Aerith, you can screw around and do other sidequests all you want. Nothing happens until you actually reach Aerith.
    • Crisis Core also has some points like this. Director Lazard waiting to speak with you? Whatever, let's go on some missions! Nibleheim is burning to the ground? Run off to hunt for some treasure!
    • A classic example is in Final Fantasy VIII, where the hero's main Love Interest, Rinoa, is shown dangling from a rock over a tremendous fall. You must hurry there and rescue her! However, there's no timer counting down... so, sure enough, you can Take Your Time. No matter what you do, you'll always arrive in time to grab her hand and save her from falling. In all, she ends up holding on for a solid thirty minutes, while the two Gardens keep crashing into each other.
      • There's also a point in the story where you're sent on a mission to assassinate Edea. You're told that you have to set everything up before the hour when the festival where she makes her appearance begins. There's a giant clock keeping track of time. You can stand there and wait as long as you want... the clock will just keep on ticking.
      • Even more egregiously, at a later point in the game, Squall happens to be on a space station about to be swallowed by a cosmic catastrophe, and to gain a particular card in the game's card game sidequest, you are required to play a secondary character, an opportunity that comes only in this instance. To its credit, the game does some Lampshade Hanging on this by having the character state, "You wanna to play cards now!?"
    • There is a scene in Final Fantasy IX where the main party has to chase Beatrix, who is, long story short, an enemy. She leaves the room and you have to go after her... but, not only you can take as long as you want talking to everybody, you can actually talk to the Moogle in the room to spend the night in a Tent. And when you leave the room, you'll still catch up with her right in front of the building. It's like a video game version of The Tortoise and the Hare.
    • Final Fantasy X is not immune: "Yuna's been kidnapped, and they're getting away! What do you want to do?" "Play Blitzball!"
      • Something even more amusing happens on the endgame. After the climatic battle with Sin on the Fahrenheit (and bizarrely moving from Bevelle to the Calm Lands), every single NPC in Spira will wonder what the hell is going to happen next, assuming that you're already inside Sin. In fact, it almost seems like everyone is waiting whoever is on the ship to finish the job already...
    • In Final Fantasy X-2 Shuyin is just starting to activate Vegnagun when your party arrives there. After spending hours digging in the desert, defeating Angra Mainyu and following a moogle's ghost around.
      • However, if you take too long in the battle against Vegnagun itself, you will get a Non-Standard Game Over in which it activates and causes an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
      • The quest involving Angra Mainyu itself is a notable offender. You can start this quest in chapter 3 while things are still quite calm to get some head start, and in chapter 5 all hell breaks loose, with fiends summoned by Angra Mainyu swarming the Cactuar Nation while Marnella holding them off, making you think the time will be of essence here. But nope, it doesn't matter whether you started the quest in chapter 3 or 5, or whether you make this quest your top priority or in the meantime you'll go explore local Brutal Bonus Level, play Sphere Break for 10 hours, catch and raise Chocobos, play tournament with fiends and then finish the quest, you won't get even slightly different ending.
    • Near the end of Final Fantasy XII, a battle between The Empire and La Résistance is in full swing over your home city, and you need to get there and defeat the main villain before the whole place gets wrecked. But no matter how long you spend doing hunts and dungeon crawls, the city will still be miraculously unwrecked and the battle will still be going on.
      • "We need to get to Jahara/Mt Bur-Omisace/Draklor Laboratory/Giruvegan as quickly as possible! Clearly, we must therefore hang around for 100 hours hunting monsters, finding lost treasures, unlocking Clan Primer sage advice by killing common monsters a lot, completing these odd and largely pointless subplots..."
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, while your characters never cease to remind you that they have limited time before the phlebotinum they're carrying in their bodies turns them into mindless monsters, the actual length of that limit is barely even hinted at. In fact Fang's explanation of the the brands' variable growth rate makes it pretty obvious it happens at the speed of plot.
    • Final Fantasy XV has issues with this due to the open-world nature of the game encouraging side quest completion, yet this sometimes conflicts with the story having more urgent chapters than others. In Chapter 1 for example, you can take however long you want to explore the Leide region, sleep multiple nights at camp, participate in hunts, etc. but Insomnia will only fall once you're ready to set sail for Altissia. However, in chapter 9, you get the ability to return to the past, allowing you to take as long as you like.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: When the player travels a certain distance in an act, they gain access to the boss of the act. Surprisingly, despite the game keeping track of total distance traveled, there is no penalty for skipping the boss and waiting for it to respawn, giving the player the opportunity to perform any necessary grinding before starting the fight.
  • Golden Sun. In the final dungeon, you get the Teleport Lapis, finally allowing your party to warp to any town you've already visited as well as to use certain teleport circles to advance further into the optional dungeons. So, halfway through the final dungeon, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, your party can just pop on off to complete sidequests and then come back to Mars Lighthouse when they're good and ready.
    • While not mobility-based, in Dark Dawn, you get the Sol Blade right at the end of the final dungeon, which, like the Teleport Lapis, allows access into certain areas. You can piss off right then for some sidequests and come back, when a number of cities are relying on you to fire the cannon to dispel the shadows currently running amok.
  • In Grandia, at one point Feena is about to be forcefully married. If the monsters in the secret passage leading into the church hurt you too much, you can go have a meal and sleep at a Trauma Inn as many times as you want, and still come arrive just in time to stop the wedding.
  • Very blatantly used in Grandia II. The dark god has been resurrected by the Big Bad, millions of people are being slaughtered left and right, including Mareg, but not Millenia, the world is burning and the dead are rising to become his minions who are looking for the final MacGuffin held by Ryudo, the only thing keeping him from total invincibility and The End of the World as We Know It. Of course, now's the perfect time to go and insert a Bonus Dungeon that can only be accessed now! There's even a DISCLAIMER telling you not to worry about the story when you enter!
  • In Inazuma Eleven, as soon as a NPC asks you if you're ready for the scheduled match, you can just leave the stadium or train station and go screw around for as long as you want, even partake in non plot related football matches, and the one you were supposed to play won't begin. This is particularly zany when having to confront the Big Bad's team and just leave them hanging to level up.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for the Super Famicom, Jotaro's group has 50 days to save his mother from Dio's curse. This means you can only sleep at the Speedwagon Foundation 25 times and if you do, then the option simply becomes unavailable.
  • Kingdom Hearts does this repeatedly. Even in cases where overworld travel is limited, you can still save and wander around the safe area for a while before a boss battle.
    • During the Olympus Coliseum segment of Kingdom Hearts, the enormous boss Cerberus can loom over Hercules's head indefinitely, inches from defeating him, until Sora gets done puttering around the other worlds and finally comes back to help out.
    • Xemnas never tries to open up the door to Kingdom Hearts until you confront him. He never does anything else inside Kingdom Hearts until you enter the door.
    • Birth by Sleep does this a few times as well, such as when Terra's escorting Cinderella to the ball - at one point, you see her surrounded by Unversed ahead of you, but since it's not part of the actual escort mini-game you can take as much time as you want getting to her.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], there's nothing keeping Riku from going off and gallivanting around in other worlds after Sora succumbs to the darkness and gets kidnapped by Xehanort.
    • Kingdom Hearts III:
      • Hades would forever stand in Olympus' throne room in front of the subdued gods and never enact his Evil Plan unless you approach them.
      • Oh no! Elsa is enveloping Arendelle in a blizzard! But there's a lot more interesting things you can do in the North Mountain and if not, you can exit the world, so why would you bother?
      • Upon reaching Keyblade Graveyard's labyrinth, you can see the other Guardians of Light duking it out with the True Organization XIII members in the distance, but their battles won't be triggered unless you come near them. While you cannot exit to the world map, you can take your sweet time buying things from Mog, saving, or entering the Battlegates for as long as you want.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network series does this a lot. Often, there will be something bad going on, like your house's kitchen being set on fire, the ventilation system for the basement you are trapped in having been shut down, the plane you are in being about to crash, or a powerful Navi is wreaking havoc on the Net. However, you can fool around all you want and when you DO start your mission, you'll arrive just in time to put an end to the problem.
    • In Mega Man Battle Network 3, Wily's evil plan can go off at any time, yet you can go back and forth between ACDC Town and Wily's fortress as many times as you want, a process that takes half an hour according to the game, and Wily still hasn't set off his plans yet.
    • Even better, in Mega Man Battle Network 2 and 4, you can take an airplane to different parts of the world every time there's something urgent.
    • This gets a little silly with some of the New Game Plus elements, as some of the secret areas can only be entered after you've completed the game. Naturally for the new game you'd instantly boot up the last save point you had, as that's when you have logically the strongest equipment (and because Megaman would inform you that proceeding further would not allow you to save anymore). This point is usually right before the final boss fight, which almost always has the fate of the world hanging in the balance. The entire world is basically frozen in that one moment of doom while you go off into some weird part of the net to fight a completely unrelated boss for shits and giggles (and some otherwise unattainable chips). However, this can result in the "panic" music for that game being permanently on in the real world for the duration of your escapades (which can get a bit annoying).
    • Continued in Mega Man Star Force, in which you can not only fit in hours of adventuring during any given day, but you can do this on days when ancient and/or alien superweapons are pointed directly at your house and ticking, without actually risking any harm to your home or friends.
  • In Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, the various optional skirmish battles are a great example, particularly the ones involving Tyran. He's a bully and a would-be tyrant who is trying to invade Evermore and take it over and more than once challenges King Evan to battles via the game's skirmish mechanic. However, so long as you just ignore the optional sidequests, he's apparently happy to be left waiting. What's more, even if you do engage in it, you can lose with no real penalty. Even the skirmish itself has elements of this, as you have to beat him back several times and at one point he even claims to have nipped inside your kingdom's borders for lunch. And at the end of each one, he promises to come back and try again later.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door does this. You can go all the way through the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, get right up to the save point outside the Final Boss's lair... and then turn right back around, leave the dungeon, level grind, and complete all the sidequests in the game. When you return and walk through that door, it will always be just in time to stop The End of the World as We Know It. At least this isn't mandatory to complete everything, thanks to the Playable Epilogue.
    • You can do this again in the sequel Super Paper Mario.
    • In Paper Mario: Sticker Star usually you can take as much time as you want to select the stickers for battle. This is subverted in World 3 when you fight enemies on a poisoned area. Both you and the enemies will take damage if you wait too long. Unlike the two previous games, there is no Playable Epiloguenote , so for 100%, it's mandatory to mess around in the sticker museum while the final boss is still active.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team The final dungeon becomes a Collapsing Lair after the final boss is defeated. With no count down timer though, you can just stand there forever if you want, the game will only progress to the next part when you leave the tower.
      • At one point, some Shy Guy Rs steal one of the Ultibed parts. Despite them supposedly being keen to leave the island with the treasure, they don't even spawn until you beat the nearby (completely irrelevant) mini game, and even then they never reach the Blimport.
  • Generally averted in Path of the Midnight Sun. Nearly every action you engage with takes up time on the clock, from visiting locations, to walking on the battle maps, even turns in battle. Many missions, sidequests, and plot events have specific deadlines attached, so you'd better finish battles fast, or you'll run out of precious time.
  • Shin Megami Tensei/Persona:
    • In Persona 2: Innocent Sin you can take a break from the Very Definitely Final Dungeon where you're supposed to be chasing Nazis intent on bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, and go visit the final section of the optional dungeon (which only opens after you've been through the first part of the VDFD!), grind your way to the level cap, gather up everyone's ultimate weapons, waste time in the casino, and play as many magazine sweepstakes as you feel like.
    • In Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5: other than the overall, game-long time limit to complete them before the game is over, each Social Link character's personal story will only advance when the player sees them, and it's possible to put off seeing them for months at a time. Everything in their personal lives will wait until the player is ready: Kaz can go the better part of a year not getting medical attention for a severe knee injury and still be fine, and one of the Links in 3 is dying, yet he always manages to last long enough to max his Link, regardless of how long it takes.
    • The Dark Hour in Persona 3 is explicitly stated to be an "extra" hour that most people cannot experience, and it's where the entirety of the game's dungeon crawling takes place. There's no actual timer of any sort, of course, so the player is free to continue grinding in Tartarus well past what would only be a single hour.
  • Games created with Unlimited Adventures: There is no way to keep track of time, so there is no real point for the players to ever care about what the in-game clock is telling. The only times where it comes into play is duration of spells cast on the characters, and whether it's day or night time (which can affect some events.)
  • Pokémon does this several times.
    • You'll always walk in just in-time for when Giovanni is discussing "grown-up things" with the boss of Silph Co. in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow and their various remakes.
    • In Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal and their remakes, you may not really be able to go on to Blackthorn City while Team Rocket has taken over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, but you most definitely can run around all you like and Giovanni never comes out of hiding. This is actually justified in the remakes if you complete the Celebi event. You actually travel back in time, beat Giovanni, and get told by him that even though he's been training since another kid beat him three years ago, the fact that you beat him means he still isn't ready to come back and take charge of Team Rocket again. Admittedly, this just means you have to take your time getting a Celebi, but since it's time travel, you have all the time in the world.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Archie and Maxie will always wait for you to arrive before summoning a terraforming legendary Pokémon on the Hoenn region.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: You could start playing now and keep hanging around breeding for movesets and Level Grinding until you've broken the buttons on your DS, but Cyrus's attempt to remake the world will hover forever at the brink of success. Even before that, there's Team Galactic's attacks on the three sacred lakes; in Platinum, this is even invoked: Lake Acuity can only be accessed by using Rock Climb, which forces you to detour to Snowpoint City and defeat the Gym so that you can use the move outside of battle. Your rival will just stall Commander Jupiter at the Lake until you get there.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, the plot moves along with you, but no matter how much time you spend after reaching the Pokémon League, N will never beat the Champion until the second you arrive. After that, you can dink around in the castle all you want. In fact, you can even be teleported out of it! Somehow. Why not postpone the Final Battle to participate in a Pokémon Musical, or two, or twenty?
    • In Pokémon X and Y, Lysandre will wait until you've gotten all the way through his hideout, beaten up all of his mooks, and learned all of the plot-relevant backstory before letting Xerosic activate the Ultimate Weapon, in spite of publicly announcing his intentions to do so before you even arrive. And even then, he doesn't fully fire it until you get through the other secret base, capture the mascot legendary, and fight him again — you could go off and money grind at the Battle Chateau, breed some 'mons, or do whatever else you want while the Ultimate Weapon is just sitting there in Geosenge Town.
    • In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you don't need to worry too much about the impeding collapse of space-time towards the end of the main story. Take a page from Mistress Cogita's book and get some errands done before the world ends. Take all the time you need to complete some sidequests and perfect some Pokédex entries; Dialga and Palkia will patiently wait for you. In fact, you can even get the latter done while in the middle of being exiled and all your friends are fussing about your well-being.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has a bit of this due to the fact that you can do the three main story quests in almost any order you want. The biggest example is when you do Kofu's gym challenge. The player has to bring Kofu his wallet so he can participate in an auction. Not only can you take as long as you want on this in general, there's also a Titan in the nearby desert. So, you can delay your delivery in order to fight a giant-sized Paradox Pokémon with Arven, but you'll still somehow make it in time to participate in the auction.
  • At one point in Radiant Historia, you can stay in an inn that is on fire, while the entire city is being burned down around you and the citizens are being murdered by soldiers... who are actively hunting you specifically. The innkeeper lampshades this, saying that he can't leave because another (oblivious) NPC is still there.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army has a case of this the first time Raidou travels to the Dark World, as he discovers he has to save a schoolgirl from being devoured by a tsuchigumo, but can do whatever he feels like without her getting eaten. This turns out to be because the whole thing was a trap, and it wouldn't exactly work if he ate the bait.
  • Used liberally in Rune Factory 3: There's a giant skeleton lizard monster attacking the univir village? You don't have to actually fight it for days. No one can cook anything for fear of attracting a lion-like beast? Eh, do whatever you want. Your fiancé has been kidnapped by a dragon? It can wait.
  • In the Shadow Hearts series you can access a large number of sidequests only after the final dungeon has appeared.
    • Near the end of Shadow Hearts, the villain proclaims that an alien of godlike power will lay waste to the world in seven days. Given that the game is set before World War I, and that you're moving between different locations in Europe, you can spend about a year's worth of time on the different subquests without the week running out.
    • The sequel, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, does the same damn thing: The Big Bad explicitly mentioned that The Very Definitely Final Dungeon will ring a 108 times before unleashing its powers. Yet, most players would leave the dungeon to do sidequests.
    • In Shadow Hearts: From The New World several sidequests, like Anne's Pop Quiz, unlock only after you enter the final dungeon for the first time.
  • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, there are several instances where characters keep telling you that you need to be somewhere, to save the world and all that, but you can still wander from town to town, level grind, and make rotten shashimi to your heart's content.
  • Tales Series:
    • At the very end of Tales of Symphonia, Mithos is about to leave the planet with Derris-Kharlan and the Great Seed. This removal of mana will cause both worlds to perish. Despite this apparently imminent threat, there are several bonus levels and sidequests that only open up after you open the door to the final boss fight. However the Cruxis Crystal containing his soul is still carried by one of your party members so he has to wait for you to reach him.
    • In the end of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Richter is attempting to force the door between the world of the living and Niflheim, the demon world, open to allow the demons to invade the world. After finding this out the gang splits up to prepare for the final fight (and you can visit them). After the team regroups, you can take care of all the things you forgot, including Gladsheim (a bonus level that can take an upwards of 3 hours to complete). When you finally do get to the final boss, he's JUST about to complete his goal.
      • In the Temples of Fire and Lightning, certain delays, if taken too much, can in fact lead to the heroes being too late to grab two of the Mac Guffins, which will then be lost to them for an extended period of time. But only if time is lost in those specific ways. Other than that, you can take all the time you want.
    • At the end of Tales of Vesperia, Duke has raised Tarqaron for the sole purpose of absorbing the life of everyone on the planet in order to defeat the Adephagos. In fact, many people in the world are already feeling its effects, meaning he's already absorbing their life! Of course, you can take as long as you want to go there, and the game actively encourages you to do just that, as a huge chunk of the available sidequests only become available after this happens.
      • When traveling to Nordopolica the first time, Kaufman tells you she's in a hurry to beat Leviathan's Claw (who've been taking her customers); however, you can make a brief detour since you're making good time. At this point, quite a few sidequests (some time-sensitive) open up in almost every city you've visited thus far (and some require staying the night at an inn). You still make it in time anyway (Leviathan's Claw must be pretty slow).
      • Immediately afterwards you're told the only time you can meet the head of Nordopolica is on the night of the new moon. You leave and go take care of other business for the next 15 or so days. The game requires you to spend at least 6 nights in inns while taking care of the business and 3 more for sidequests. So far that's 9 of the 15 days. Then there's the desert level you pass through with a day/night cycle. Regardless of how long you take you'll still get there in time.
    • Tales of the Abyss has some sidequests that are only made available after seeing the last scene before the final boss fight. Even after they've trekked all the way through the final dungeon and had a pep talk about how they're going to finish this once and for all, none of the party finds it strange to then wander off to get some new clothes.
      • What makes this more amusing is that the writing feels like it was trying particularly hard to create a sense of urgency in the player. But since a lot of the sidequests have odd cut-offs for no apparent reason and a lot of them are the only way to learn about the world, its history, and most of the backstory of one of the characters, by all means run around bothering random NPCs while the land threatens to collapse, it'll wait for you.
    • In Tales of Graces, there are moments of urgency in the game where you obviously have to go somewhere...however you cannot doof around doing whatever, as the game may tell you "No that's not the right way" because the characters will know they can't just run around. However, you can take all you want in some dungeons when you attempt to stop something. The Valkines Cryas in Fendel is about to explode? Let's just run around doing requests. And you don't need to worry about Richard beating you to the Valkines Cryas - no matter what, Richard always seems to arrive a few minutes after you got there.
    • Tales of Destiny 2 did have some points where missions were timed, usually when there was deadly gas that would kill your characters with too long of an exposure or something was about to explode. Sometimes you can't wander around (the game will railroad you into a certain time-relevant story mission), but at other points, such as the end of the game where Elraine is supposedly about to awaken the goddess Fortuna, you can go around finding hidden items, find hidden villages, and open up the path to the Bonus Dungeon (as well as going through the bonus dungeon) with no ill effects. Elraine will patiently wait for you even though she's actively been trying to prevent you from reaching her (or at least trying to delay you) at every opportunity before now.
    • Tales of Berseria lampshades the trope. Most of the game's sidequests only become available right when The Very Definitely Final Dungeon does. A skit then has the party discussing that the antagonists are so completely on the back foot with their time-sensitive Plan A derailed that now's a perfect time to check in other matters before the final confrontation.
  • Trails of Cold Steel IV plays it straight. It's the morning of the last day, Erebonia declares war on its neighbours at noon, sinister floating fortresses have appeared, and The End of the World as We Know It is nigh. There are five side quests available, one of which involves setting up a Harvest Festival for a village you previously visited. You have to do all of the quests to get the True Ending, so if you try to go straight to the sinister floating fortresses, you will get a pop-up message telling you that the quests are vitally important.
  • Egregious in Treasure of the Rudra, where having only 15 days before the end of the human race is the whole plot, yet days only pass if you advance the story, not when staying the night in an inn.
  • In Wild ARMs there is no hurry to get to the final boss. In fact, you can only get the secret character and do most of the sidequests by going half into then back out of the final dungeon with a specific item.
  • In the Action RPG The World Ends with You (or It's a Wonderful World), the plot involves placing missions with time limits on players; if the mission is not cleared within the time limit, then any players in the mission will be erased. However, you can deviate from the mission as long as you want. Even if the game recognizes that a full week has passed, you can take your time leveling up as much as you want, and spend time shopping as long as you want; the time limit is only plot sensitive. Funny enough, each Reaper Game is seven days as well, and the game explicitly gives you XP for your pins for up to a week of not playing your DS after saving.
  • Towards the end of Xenosaga Episode 1, an orbital superweapon is being aimed at a planet, and you are told it will be ready to fire in 5-10 minutes. Even if you do rush through the next portion of the game, it will take at least 45 minutes to an hour or so to stop the weapon, without it ever firing. Of course, you can also go the usual route and spend hours or days leveling and working on sidequests/minigames, too.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 1:
      • Played with. There are no time limits for story events, even when said story events involve trying to prevent one of Shulk's visions of the the future from happening (often involving a character being killed). You are free to do as many side quests as you'd like during that time. However, some side quests and areas become inaccessible after certain story events, and some story events lock you out of being able to skip travel due to reliance on event flags (such as in the High Entia Tomb, where the party must get out of the tomb's catacombs to prevent Melia from being assassinated).
      • During the Alcamoth arc, the Mechon attack Eryth Sea and try to break the barrier around Prison Island. That barrier doesn't break until you've met Zanza.
      • Zigzagged throughout the Mechonis arc. The Bionis alliance's attack on Sword Valley (which is to distract the Mechon while the party tries to reach Egil) doesn't begin until the party makes it past Mechonis Field, after which point, Sword Valley and Galahad Fortress are no longer accessible. After the party gets through Agniratha, Egil takes control of the Mechonis and plans to immediately destroy the Bionis. While Mechonis Field is no longer accessible after this event, the party is free to do any hanging side quests (or hunt some of Mechonis Central Factory's temporarily accessible Unique Monsters) while their home is in peril.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X:
      • The main plot of the game revolves around trying to find the Lifehold Core's location before its power source runs down. However, the power level only decreases as the story progresses, meaning you can spend the time between chapters doing whatever you want.
      • In general, none of the quests have time limits for their objectives, which is reasonable for objectives like "collect five flowers", and somewhat less reasonable when the objective is "protect this person from being devoured by a ravenous beast". It's almost inevitable that you'll get distracted by something and leave an NPC stranded out in the middle of a desert or jungle for the in-game equivalent of several weeks, only to return later and find them still waiting for you, none the worse for wear. The most egregious example occurs during a Chapter 6 story mission: you can strand Tatsu in the middle of Dead Man's Gulch (an area full of creatures that attack any living organism) for an indefinite period of time and he'll be fine, even though he has no combat ability.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
      • This game has similar issues in that almost no quests or story events have time limits, meaning you can feel free to spend a few days playing Tora's Tiger! Tiger! video game if you want. That kid stranded in the tree by a bunch of monsters can just sit tight. It's especially egregious when you're trapped inside a sinking Titan and everything inside is going to die in approximately three hours unless you stop it, but no matter how many hours pass while inside that Titan, doom never comes. Worse, speedrunner research has shown that even if you did drop everything to save the Titan like you're supposed to, it's simply not possible to make it to the next waypoint within three in-game hours, even with massive shortcuts that are only survivable using exploits. The record as of this writing is about six hours.
      • A bizarrely in-game version has the party preparing to board a ship in Argentum when their boarding passes are stolen. You end up chasing those responsible all the way to Gormott, then return to Argentum with the ship still waiting. This one gets answered if you dig through the menus to check the (completely useless) item description: they're tickets for a regular ferry service with no expiry date. The other reason for the detour is that while the party could just buy new tickets, the thieves also stole Roc's core crystal, which is a lot less replaceable.
    • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the entire party (and most of the cast) are born from People Jars at age 10 and given only an additional 10 years (called terms) before they die of accelerated aging. Mio, the oldest of the main party, is on her last term and explains in a cutscene that she only has about three months left. In grand Xenoblade tradition, though, you can sidequest and skip time as much as you want, as Mio's death timer only increments as you advance the main story. And just to twist the knife, at one point in that main story, The Dragon keeps the party locked up to deliberately waste whatever time Mio has left and force Noah to watch her die, so even if you did Speed Run the game as if in-game time counted, it would be All for Nothing, anyway.

    Edutainment Game 
  • Just about every ClueFinders game has this. Of course, considering they're all educational games, what exactly would be the fairness in putting a time limit on long division problems? Kids struggle enough in school!
  • Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? is MADE of this trope. Jefferson will beg you to quickly find parchment so he can write a draft and run to Philly (b/c there are people there who needs it like...NOW!!) or Yuri Gagarian will plead for you to get the Chronoskimmer and get the frong out of his ship, yet you can simply leave the computer, eat lunch, watch a movie, and come back to a still patiently waiting Jefferson/Yuri.

    Fighting Game 
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception is extremely bad about this. Not only can you take your time in Real Time, but you can take your time in Game Time. For example, one sidequest features a woman who is lost and needs you to get her a map. You can then enter a hut, and train for five years, only to come out and see her still lost and asking for a map.
  • Super Smash Bros.. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode is really bad at this. There are several instances where you fight while a bomb has been set, but with the exception of one Boss Battle, the timer shown on the bomb never makes it into actual gameplay. And said boss battle is after two segments that aren't timed, and you still have two out of the three total minutes shown on the bomb.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The BioShock series
    • BioShock:
      • This happens near the end of the game. At one point your heart will start to stop beating, which slowly reduces your maximum health until it is dealt with (the explanation for why this takes time is that "The heart's a stubborn muscle"). However, rather than being a continuous Status Effect, it only happens in intervals at scripted points in the level and will not actually kill you outright, even if you never took the power-ups that augment your maximum health.
      • At the beginning of the game, when Andrew Ryan sends countless splicers against you, Atlas will open a door so you can escape. If you wait long enough before escaping the game will load the next level with the player character unharmed.
    • BioShock 2:
      • At the end of the game, the player character and his ally are running around Rapture, trying to escape before several timed charges go off and sink the city. The ally repeatedly shouts things like "We must hurry!", but you don't have to.
      • There's also the Siren Alley level, when Sinclair is stuck in what's left of your train car in the flooded Dionysus Park station and urges you to hurry up because he's running out of air. You're quite a long way from completing the level when he says this, even if you do hurry.
      • The Dionysus Park level has an incredibly tragic inversion. No matter how fast you try, you'll be seconds too late to save Mark Meltzer, and he'll be carried off by a Big Sister and transformed into a Big Daddy.
    • In BioShock Infinite, when you first meet Elizabeth and Songbird arrives at her tower, you can wait as long you'd like in the library. It does become grating, however, as you'll keep hearing his screeching for as long as you stay in the room.
  • In Borderlands 2, there is usually no consequence to delaying the completion of quests or quest objectives indefinitely, regardless of how urgent the situation seems or how forcefully your allies are urging you to hurry over your radio. Any NPC dialogue or conversations that progress as you make your way through a quest will pick up right where they left off without missing a beat even if you leave a mission to go spend hours doing sidequests before returning. However, it is subverted at the end of one mission when you are told to rescue an ally before a constructor robot takes him away; even though there is no on-screen timer or other indication of time passing, if you don't destroy the robot within five minutes, it flies away with him, and you have to complete a whole additional sub-mission to break him out of a prison camp before you can proceed with the main story.
  • In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, your superiors will constantly be telling you to hurry, your ride will be telling you they only have enough fuel for 30 seconds, etc. Unless there's an actual timer on the screen, you can safely ignore the former.
    • In Modern Warfare 2, there are no more rooms of infinite-respawning enemies, so in a lot of places it is to your advantage to take it slow even though your commander is yelling in your ear to "Hurry! Hurry! We're Oscar Mike!" The only notable exception occurs in "Whiskey Hotel". If you take too long to get to the roof of the White House, the bombers WILL destroy it.
  • In Doom Eternal Earth is being invaded by hordes of demons, and while it's already pretty bad, it won't get any worse if the Slayer slacks on his job. Especially egregious in the finale, where the titanic demon called Icon of Sin enters the city and... just kinda roams around, and despite the multiple statements that "the longer the Icon of Sin remains on Earth, the stronger it becomes", this is not the case, and you can get to it at your convenience and still have the same (admittedly hard) fight.
    • In a short but literal example, one of the cutscenes has the Slayer walk through the human-held base at a leisurely pace, ignoring both the personnel scattering in fear before him and the panicked screams through intercom. He gets to slaughtering demons shortly thereafter anyway.
  • In Far Cry 2, many missions revolve around destroying a vehicle (the arms dealer missions) assassinating a person coming in by car, etc. However, you can take as many hours/days you want to get there, and the vehicle will always be driving in circles in the same part of the game world.
  • Most challenges in the Half-Life series allow you to take as long as you need, provided you can keep certain key allies alive. However, the jump to Xen includes a time-critical moment between when the gate opens and when it malfunctions; miss it and get a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • At the beginning of Half-Life 2, there are several instances where the dialogue makes you believe you need to leave quickly to avoid the Combine. One is the first meeting with Barney when his fellow Civil Protection officers arrive, another is in the apartments; you can stay as long as you want watching the citizen hold that door against the Combine, it'll never open. However, the last battle gives you a limited amount of time to defeat Dr. Breen before he teleports out of the Citadel.
    • Perhaps the most obvious examples of this trope are when Combine soldiers are coming and you have to set up a perimeter with turrets. You can take as much time as you want doing this, and in fact the first time around you can even pile up junk in front of entrances to keep the Combine out completely, but the Combine only start coming once the last turret has been placed.
    • Episode One does this for the entire game. The Citadel's core is on the verge of causing an explosion that will completely wipe out City 17. In the start of the game, Alyx keeps reminding you about the crisis, but you can go as slow as you want and the core will still be intact. Plot wise, Gordon and Alyx can take a bit more time on escaping after they delayed the core from going off, but when their plan stops working, Alyx once again urges Gordon to keep moving, but you can still go at a leisurely pace. The Citadel never explodes until after Gordon and Alyx board the train and leave City 17.
      • Similarly, Episode Two does this on several occasions. You are reminded several times that the Combine are hunting down Alyx and Gordon because they stole data from the Citadel that can be used against them. Even though you are urged to hurry to White Forest, you can practically hold down the walk button and the rebels' reaction to your arrival would still be the same. Likewise, after Alyx gets impaled by a Hunter, you are urged to be swift and retrieve an antlion larva extract to prevent Alyx from dying. No matter how fast or slow you go, by the time you come back with the MacGuffin, you'll always hear how Alyx's pulse has stopped and you're always in the nick of time to save her.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved , the missions are all supposed to be time-critical, and there are several points in the game where Cortana (or in some cases, Guilty Spark 343) urges you to hurry, yet only the final escape scene is actually timed.
    • This happens in Halo 2 as well:
      • The first major level in the game requires you to defuse a live bomb, set on the Cairo by the Covenant. However, you can muck about the level for as long as you want, despite Cortana constantly nagging you about the bomb over the radio. When you finally succeed, you're told how close you were.
      • Also happens in the second part of the Arbiter's first mission, where you cut the cable to the gas mine, causing it to plunge towards the planet core, then pursue the Heretic Leader back to the hangar for a rather long Boss Battle.
    • The final level in Halo 3, being a Call-Back to the first game, has no timer but it is indeed timed, as laggers will find themselves tumbling into space.
    • In Halo 4's first level, there's a part where you're trying to activate a missile launcher before a Covenant cruiser can destroy your ship, but you can take all the time you want to get there. At the end of the level, you are supposed to run to the escape pods before your ship gets torn apart by a gravity well, but again, it's not actually timed. Besides, you end up not being able to make it to the pods anyways.
    • Halo 5: Guardians has one part where you're supposed to make it up a space elevator to your Pelican before it collapses. Only the very last part of the section is timed.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has this for the finale in "The Parish". After contacting the army, the soldier tells you that the escape chopper will leave in 10 minutes, but you can take as long as you want since it will still wait for you. The zombies, however, are not so polite, and will happily take the extra chances to continue trying to kill you.
    • Technically, all the rescue vehicles that come to rescue you like to take their time in both games. They say they will be there in ten minutes, but really only appear after you kill the second (or in "Swamp Fever", third) Tank.
  • Metro Exodus: That story mission can wait until night, when it's easier to sneak. The night after you've spent a few days exploring and looking for loot and weapon upgrades.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption plays this straight for the most part in that the Galactic Federation is certainly nice to wait on Samus when it comes to her doing the critically essential tasks they assign her in one or two places. It's realistic if you take your time doing it, but they seem perfectly content to let you wander off to entire other planets, collecting missile launcher expansions instead of doing your damn job.
  • Not only does Red Faction use this trope, it actually has an NPC pull a weird inversion on you. When Capek's base is on a one-minute self-destruct timer, Eos insists that you escape while she finds some crucial data. She won't move a muscle until you're gone — but even if you leave her only one second on the timer, she'll somehow turn up later having accomplished her mission. Apparently other characters can Take Their Time as long as you're not around!
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando plays this straight in some missions, where you're told to rush but there is no timer and events won't happen until you trigger them. Other missions, however, have 'time limits' in the form of more enemies being in the area depending on how long you take to get there. There's also a genuine Timed Mission at the end of the first chapter, where you're trying to get off a ship that you've sabotaged which will self-destruct in five minutes.

    Hack and Slash 
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: You (Travis) have urgent revenge to get against Jasper Batt Jr., which you are letting drive and consume you. You also want to beat him as quickly as possible, as there's 49 other assassins gunning for him, including the number 2 ranked assassin who could take him on at any time. You still have plenty of time to work a few odd jobs for cash for clothes, including one which requires your going into space, plus time to: watch porn, babysit your comatose twin brother, let several days pass, and still make it to fight the second ranked Alice just before she was ready to take on the number one. Fortunately, Batt at least is patient, as he's been wanting to fight you or engineer your downfall for three years, and wants you at your best before hand.
  • Oni: In level five you're chasing the Big Bad, who is fleeing towards an airplane, across the airport's cargo hangars. You can, however, Take Your Time and explore every single room in the hangars, and when you reach the plane the Big Bad is just boarding it.

  • The personal story quests in Guild Wars 2 often have a sense of urgency about them, and at least one instance in each story arc where you have to pick one mission, often making you choose between saving a named NPC or averting A Million Is a Statistic. Because there often isn't enough time to do both. Except that the next story mission generally has a level requirement about 3 levels higher than the previous, so the game clearly expects you to Take Your Time and do some general questing.
  • In City of Heroes, unless your contact specifically says that you X amount of time before the bomb goes off/they escape with the hostages/initiate their plan you can take all the time you need. But if there is a set time, you have exactly that much time; even if you exit the game and get back in, the timer is still ticking.
  • In RuneScape, many quests have rather urgent situations that you can just leave alone and solve it later. Recipe For Disaster justifies this by putting the events of the quest in a time-bubble.
    • Parodied in "One Small Favor". After the Chain of Deals takes you across a good four or five countries and back on foot, doing various tasks the whole way, the person who gave you the initial quest is furious that you took so long, doesn't care about all the other people you helped along the way, and declares that you don't deserve any reward at all since he could have gotten his mahogany polish just fine without you in the first place and it wouldn't have taken nearly so long. He relents after you snap at him and tell him just what you've had to deal with.
  • The island quest in Kingdom of Loathing is an impressive example. Ostensibly a war between two opposing hordes of mobs, it actually involves both armies waiting passively for you to systematically eradicate them. If you do some sidequests, killing a mob will trigger a fixed number of extra kills by the side you're fighting for, but they still won't score any kills when you're not around, no matter how long you screw around in other areas.
  • Played completely straight in World of Warcraft nine times out of ten. One quest in particular that springs to mind involves a competition with a dwarf as to who can kill 60 animals first. This quest is specifically designed to overlap with other "Kill X many Y" quests which have a far smaller amount of animals to kill - at certain points when you have killed a specific number of animals, the dwarf will appear, laugh at you about how many more animals he has killed, and disappear. Around the 40 point he'll take a nap, at 55 or so he'll wake up, and at 60 he'll be 2 or so kills behind you.
    • An example pointed out a few times on fansites involves Sentinel Hill, a military base and the only place in the entire Westfall region that isn't full of homeless people, burning to the ground by the Defias Brotherhood. The leader, Gryan Stoutmantle, yells at you to hurry to Stormwind and tell King Varian, telling you to take a gryphon and not waste any time. You can go anywhere on that gryphon, maybe spend a few hours in a dungeon, heck, level all the way up to the level cap if you'd like.
  • Final Fantasy XIV takes this to a ludicrous degree. A primal was summoned and is threatening everything around them? Time to screw off and play in an optional dungeon! The Big Bad gained the ultimate power and is ready to destroy everything? Time to play some minigames instead! The English version of the game also lampshades this in some instances by saying that you decided to take the time to call for your adventuring friends that just happened to be nearby and are willing to help you fight the Monster of the Week.

  • The book version of Oracle of Tao lampshades that Ambrosia got the Year Inside, Hour Outside backwards (possibly intentionally) and asks how long the demon's plan will take. Apparently, it will take 30 years, but one year here is sixty years, meaning they could literally destroy the Earth twice while the party is training, goofing off, and even fishing.
  • Despite the faffing around and general buffoonery John and co. get up to in Homestuck the events of Homestuck are actually on a pretty tight schedule, at least for the first half of the comic. The characters mainly get around the time constraints through judicious use of time travel and, well, failing to meet the time limits and getting royally creamed.
  • Prophecy Approved Companion: The Chosen One, being both fully human and Genre Savvy, is well aware that he shouldn't take the Cool Sword until he's ready to advance the plot. Instead, he goes around the entire village, breaking pots for loot, checking for clipping bugs, and even managing to break the plot.
  • StreetPass Mii Plaza: Your Mii is locked in a cage? Space pirates are ravaging the galaxy? You've got an army at your borders? You're trapped in a giant haunted mansion without food or water? Zombies are overrunning your hometown? The neighborhood fat cat tycoon is getting richer by the day? Your nation's heroes are starving? Demons are razing villages left and right? You haven't watered your flowers in days? No problem! You can put off playing any of the games for any amount of time without anything happening.
  • A 4chan greentext story tells the tale of a notable aversion in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign that goes Off the Rails when one of the players decides to legalize gay marriage in the kingdom instead of doing the intended plot, and the rest of the party gets dragged along. After a long campaign of political struggle and intrigue, the party overthrows the monarchy, establishes a democracy, and the player in question makes it her first act to legalize gay marriage... and then an army of undead swoops in and slaughters everyone in the kingdom. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to prioritize gay marriage over the lich overlord plotting the destruction of the kingdom, after all.
  • In El Goonish Shive, during the "Parable" storyline, this is discussed with Justin telling Susan nothing major will happen unless she progresses the plot.
  • Defied in the Melody Kingdom arc of Cucumber Quest. The region's boss, Noisemaster, is increasingly more frustrated with the fact that he and his fellow bosses are stuck in an endless cycle of fighting heroes, and on this iteration explicitly tells Cucumber and friends that he wants to skip all the niceties expected of his encounter with heroes and outright blast the Melody Kingdom to smithereens.

    Platform Game 
  • Banjo-Kazooie (also made by Rare) takes place while the evil witch Gruntilda prepares to use a machine that will swap her ugly looks with those of Banjo's sister, Tooty. Even though, as you trek through her lair, she regularly taunts you about this, Banjo and Kazooie will have more than enough time to collect the Jiggies necessary to reach Grunty before she can get the machine to work, and it only ever does in the Game Over sequence.
    • And in Banjo-Tooie, Grunty's sisters build a life-sucking machine to restore Grunty's flesh, as she was reduced to a skeleton in the time between the two games. However, they only ever use it once on King Jingaling, after which it needs to recharge. Like in the first game, the heroes have all the time in the world to collect the required Jiggies before the machine is done charging.
  • In Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future, the baby whale will not drown no matter how long the player takes to free her.
  • In Donkey Kong 64, the whole game is technically played while K. Rool is charging a laser that he plans use to destroy DK Isle. However, only the final level has a timer, and you can extend that.
  • Recommended before the final mission of Psychonauts: leveling up by collecting all the pickups will make the boss battles much easier. It doesn't matter that Oleander's evil plan is about to begin; Raz can run around collecting figments indefinitely.
  • Mega Man Zero 2 gave us the launch of Neo Arcadia's missile, set to blow up the Resistance base, after Elpizo's/Elpis' Operation Righteous Strike fails. One of the navigators estimates you have ten minutes; however, if you're willing to sacrifice your score (or just restart after), you can stay on the stage for ten minutes and nothing will happen.
  • In Mirror's Edge Catalyst, the alleged sixty-second lockdown warning during the escape from the Elysium building in "Back In The Game" is just presented for tension's sake. You can hang around as long as you'd like; even after the announcement system counts down to zero, the building won't be completely locked down and you can still zip-line out of there.
  • In the first and third Ratchet & Clank games, the final two levels are part of a plot in which you have to prevent the use of a superweapon. Both games not only let you return to other planets, but encourage it by introducing side-quests which require you to go elsewhere. In both, once you've reached the final boss, you can leave the region — and the planet, if you wish — and return later, with no risk of him actually using the weapon.
    • Towards the end of the third game, the Phoenix is invaded in a last-ditch attempt by the villain to eliminate the Q-Force. The few survivors are huddled under a walkway on the bridge, only metres from enemy forces. In the plot, this is made out to be a matter of urgency and the ship explicitly goes above normal speed to get there; you're not even given a choice of locations. However, once you're there, you can leave, fly around the galaxy, return and be in time to save the day.
  • At the end of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, the Big Bad's flying fortress is blown up over Paris. You then have to navigate the debris, make you way to the villain, beat her up and rescue your friends all before hitting the ground. There's no rush. You're apparently falling from orbit because you have plenty of time to precisely plan your jumps.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 has a few Timed Missions where the plot mandates more urgency (notably when the military base is about to explode). Likewise, the final fight of each story is timed, although no countdown is present on the HUD to draw attention to this fact. However, it's played straight with the ending stages of both Hero and Dark stories - whether you're rushing to stop Eggman from firing the ARK on the Earth, or rushing to stop the heroes from stopping Eggman from firing the ARK on the Earth, this trope is in full effect. This is also played straight in Cannon's Core, where you supposedly have only 27 minutes 53 seconds to complete it and the following boss battles but exceeding the time has no penalty.
  • Super Mario Bros.: This applies normally to the 3D titles which don't give you a time limit except for certain missions. While the 2D platform games put you on a Timed Mission, a few 2D games avert this:

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Antichamber, there is a clock in the menu/pause/map screen that counts down from ninety minutes. After the ninety minutes are up, the clock remains at zero and an image of someone in bed throwing away an alarm clock appears, with a caption saying "Live on your own watch, not someone else's.".
  • In Gems of War, each kingdom quest-line is generally presented as though it's a continuous event, with the next step sometimes being urgent, but in fact, there's nothing stopping you from wandering off to another kingdom and not coming back for ages.
  • Starting midway through the second act, Portal 2 sets a vague time limit on the player by stating that the Enrichment Center is going to explode in "a few hours". You can take as much time as you want getting to the third act, after which it's implied that a minimum of twelve hours of game time have elapsed since the start of the second. Again you can take your time getting to the Final Boss encounter. When you get there, you're explicitly given six minutes until the nuclear meltdown, and there is a time limit to the battle, even if it expands somewhat in actual execution. However, between the resolution of the battle and the action that triggers the final cutscene, you can literally wait forever, with explosions going off, debris falling around you, and the AI characters screaming at you to finish before everything falls apart.
  • In Portal Stories: Mel, Virgil is constantly urging you to hurry to avoid the rising toxic goo, but in reality you can take as much time as you want. You never even see the goo rising behind you.

    Racing Game 
  • In SSX (2012), no matter how long it takes the members of Team SSX to complete their individual deadly descent runs, Griff will still get to Mt. Aorki at the same time as Ty for the final run.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War:
    • The campaign of the original game is effectively nothing but this trope. By the last few missions, Ork hordes are rampaging everywhere, Imperial Guard forces are getting slaughtered or falling to Chaos, Chaos themselves are preparing to unleash a daemonic Sealed Evil in a Can, and a Negative Space Wedgie literally from hell is about to swallow the system, warping the very planet, and there is absolutely no in-game reason to care.
    • Dawn of War II: Some missions have expiration date, while others don't. All the plot missions, however, don't. Say you have to close the gates leading to the industrial city district, or else the endless implacable hordes of Tyranids will storm in, destroy the crucial installation and extinguish the very last hope of defeating the terrible Tyranid Hive-Fleet...Yep, they will storm...Any minute now...Already storming...Almost there...You waste another day on sidequests and all will be lost...Well, you waste another two get the idea. The funniest thing? You can lose the mission, i.e. get all your units incapacitated and withdrawn back to the base...and then you'll simply get another try to start the mission from the very beginning.
  • Pikmin:
    • It is series-wide tradition to avert this in normal gameplay, with days having an in-game time limit seen at the top of the screen. The first day of each installment plays this straight, giving the player unlimited time to act as a tutorial. In 3, the opening sequence with Charlie and the part where Brittney finds Yellow Pikmin in a cave have unlimited time until Charlie's capture or Brittney leaves, respectively.
    • Pikmin 2: The messages after each day will detail the President getting caught up with the All-Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks. The start hunting him and he goes in to hiding. No matter how many days the player takes, there is no gameplay consequence from this, and eventually the mail will just start repeating his last message until the debt is repayed.
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: Mission choice option makes the game very guilty of this. Even when offered a mission that you'd think you have to complete ASAP before something terrible completely out of your control and independent from your actions happens, like Big Bad finding some vital information she's searching for, Protoss fleet obliterating a Zerg-infected planet, or a nearby star going nova, you can still take your time completing a whole side arc, before attending to those pesky nuisances.
  • Stellaris: The Terminal Orbit anomaly, which creates a special project for watching a moon crashing into a gas giant. There is a timer for the research project, but it doesn't start until you finish researching the anomaly, so that moon will hang around for as long as it takes you to get around to finishing the anomaly.

  • Ancient Domains of Mystery uses this in spades. These two examples stand blatantly out even here:
    • Soon enough in the Caverns of Chaos, the player will find Khelavaster, the dying sage, standing on the stairs. Now the player can either chat with him to let him die, or give him an amulet of life saving to, well, save him. Or you can back up, leave him there for months or years of game time, and he will still stand there - until the player finally chooses his fate.
    • In order to save the puppy, you have to find it within four days in game-time, one second later and it's dead. However, it's the moment of entering the floor which counts for generating the puppy alive. If the player enters the floor and then leaves for whatever length of time they please (possibly even winning the game in the process) and then come back, the puppy will happily wait for them there, provided it's not killed by a monster while the player is on that level.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, the way time moves on the map is based on you making jumps, or waiting around if you have no fuel cells left. If you make a few jumps in a matter of seconds, the Rebel Fleet or the Rebel Flagship will go about its usual duties. However, if you get into battle with an enemy or just idle around and leave the game running for days, the Rebels will happily wait until you jump to take their next action, even if the Flagship is one turn away from crushing the Federation base.
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, there are some story based missions that try to give you a sense of urgency. But in reality, you can do whatever missions you please (or no mission at all), getting around to the story based one when you're ready to advance the story.
    • Chatot will scold you if you don't do the Perfect Apples mission immediately after he asks you to, but there are no actual consequences.
    • Your partner will tend to acknowledge when you try again at a story dungeon, along with any bosses at the end of the dungeon.
    • At multiple points in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, your partner will insist that you attend to the matter at hand if you try to take any missions from the board or go out to do a dungeon without a mission. However, you can still use Companion Mode to do missions freely at any point in the story (Albeit without the aid of your hero and partner).

    Simulation Game 
  • The Animal Crossing series plays with this. While you're given sidequests by villagers the only time limit is "by the end of the day" (which is actually 6 AM the next day) so you can spend literally hours doing whatever you feel like as long as you complete the sidequest before the villager decides to turn in for the night, which is usually anywhere from midnight to 2 AM.
  • Idol Manager overall zig-zags this in story mode:
    • All idols have a date on which they plan to graduate and leave when the in-game calendar reaches that date. A graduating idol will cause both the loss of fans who are attached to her specifically and the scandal points caused by the scandals in which she was involved.
    • The player is in no hurry to complete story mode objectives unless the objective explicitly comes with a deadline based on the in-game calendar, to the point that events that should be happening with no regard to the player's progress on prior objectives are subject to Schrödinger's Gun. Meanwhile, the Idol Awards will happen yearly regardless of story progress.
  • In Potion Permit, you can take as long as you want in completing the main quests and Friendship Events, which leads to some oddities such as Osman and Cassandra's anniversary date happening several weeks later despite it supposedly "coming up soon".
  • Sun Haven has the overarching plot of the Farmer, the Chosen One, investigating and beating back the mysterious darkness that threatens to envelop the town and all of the day-dwelling citizens of the world, causing untold amounts of chaos and suffering. The player is perfectly able to delay accomplishing any of the story quests for as long as they please, and could even ignore it entirely to work on their farm in Sun Haven.
  • Since the plot of the X-Universe games isn't the point, this is a given. In fact, when noobs get stuck (as in "can't get past this part 'cause I keep dying"), veterans regularly recommend that they take a break, do some trading, and come back with a bigger ship.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Despite having only an "18-hour time limit", Solid Snake can run aimlessly around Shadow Moses for days in Metal Gear Solid without the terrorists making good on their threats. It's later revealed that the nuclear threat was a ruse, but you can still play way past the eighteen-hour mark with no one saying anything.
    • Snake does gets complimented on his fitness or teased about his age depending on how long the player takes to get out of the underground dock.
    • Portable Ops has this trope as well, in an interesting form. The game has a date system, it keeps track of the day, month, year and time of day because part of the gameplay aspect involves passing time to create items or using night as a sneaking tactic. But, because of the series' established continuity, and the fact that Portable Ops is a prequel, in theory Big Boss can only spend so long on this mission before the continuity calls for him to be elsewhere doing other stuff. This doesn't happen, if you take too long, the date system will merely say: "Time Paradox".
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater a certain boss is said to be very old, only willing himself to remain alive to face his ultimate battle. If you take a week of real time to reach the boss after he gets in position... he'll have died of old age, which a morose Snake laments as a waste.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty starts off on a tanker sailing down the Hudson River, which Snake is supposed to disembark at the Verrazano Bridge. You can see the tanker's movement from the decks, but it won't get to the bridge until you've explored a large portion of the vessel, even if that takes hours. It won't get past the lower bay no matter how long you spend on board after that.
    • For any mission in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain that ends on a cliffhanger - particularly ones immediately followed by a Boss-Only Level, Snake always has time to fly back to Mother Base, take a shower, play with D-Dog, and get some shooting practice in before going back to fight.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Alien: Isolation, you have to gradually procure items that can be used to open the space station up to Amanda. You don't get everything that can open every single door or vent until chapter 16, at which point the station begins falling from orbit. So long as you don't play the story, you have free roam and can explore the station at your leisure.
  • Deadly Premonition. Play darts, go fishing, stare into coffee, and do whatever. Just remember to get back to the investigation at some point.
  • Dead Space: No matter how dire the situation, Isaac Clarke can sure take his sweet time.
    • For example, there is one section of the game in which the ship drifts through a debris field with its asteroid defenses offline. Isaac can take all the time he wants, because an asteroid will only smash through the bridge once he gets there. And then, when he boots up all but one of the auto targeting asteroid guns, the asteroids will only start coming once he gets behind the manual controls of the one malfunctioning gun.
  • Dino Crisis has a scene where Tom radios for help. You can choose to go with Rick to help rescue Tom, where upon finding him, you see that he has been heavily wounded. Despite Rick's insistence that they must hurry and get Tom to a safe place, you can take as long as you want to progress and Tom will never bleed out. Likewise, you also find a scientist locked in a gas chamber and is poisoned from the gas. To save him, you have to mix the gasses in the proper color combinations to neutralize the gas. You can screw up as much as you want (as long as the gas levels don't hit 80% or more, otherwise the scientist dies) and take all the time you need. The scientist won't die until you solve the puzzle.
  • Parasite Eve has one. After beating the boss on the hospital rooftop, the dying boss gets a lesser minion to jump onto the lift where Aya is, knocks out the brakes, and the lift starts to plummet to the ground. You're forced to battle the smaller monster, which is no different from the ones in the NYPD building, only it has more HP. You could take 2 minutes or 20 minutes, it won't matter since there is no time limit and when the battle ends, Aya will always stop the lift several feet up from the ground no matter how far the lift has gone down (about to the height of a street light).
    • But right before that, the Big Bad causes a jet fighter to go on a crash course to the roof where said lift is. If you take too long to get to the lift, game over.
  • Serena may implore you to get home as soon as possible and finish The Persistence, but you can spend days wandering the decks grinding Fab Chips and Stem Cells to unlock all the equipment upgrades and get every trophy without a worry of running out of resources or Serena mutinying against you to try to escape herself.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil has Chris (during his scenario) getting grabbed by Plant 42 and is effectively held hostage by the monster. Rebecca arrives to help and Chris has her making a chemical that can weaken the plant monster. During your time in making the chemical, you can take as long as you want and Chris won't suffer for it.
    • In Resident Evil 0, there is a scene where Rebecca is attacked by T-virus infected apes, and falls through the floor into a Bottomless Pit, where she hangs by one hand and calls on the radio for Billy's help. While the dramatic music plays and the radio occasionally squawks, "Billy, help!" Billy (controlled by the player) can take nearly as much time as he needs to collect ammo and health, kill zombies and apes, and get to where she dangles over certain doom; there actually is a time limit, but it's fairly generous. Upon arriving, he will grab her wrist just as the strength in her fingers gives out and she falls.
      • Similarly, at the beginning of the game Billy and Rebecca are on a train which abruptly starts speeding down the tracks. You can let the train run for hours with no ill effects, until you trigger the sudden, urgent need to engage the brakes.
    • Another good example of this in the series is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, where mid-way through the game, Jill gets infected with the T-Virus and falls unconscious, at which point you take control of Carlos and must go to the hospital to get a cure. Despite him muttering "I must take care of her quickly", no matter how long you are in the hospital, when you return, you always arrive just in time to save her.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The lengthier half of Jet Force Gemini has the player gallivanting about the galaxy to collect pieces of a ship required to catch up with an asteroid that's on a collision course with Earth.
  • In Max Payne 3, most chapters don't impose any sort of time limit, even in the many situations where Max needs to quickly catch up to someone. The second and twelfth chapters are the exception, as waiting around in these cases has the consequence of Giovanna and Fabiana's kidnappers escaping and a building collapsing with Max on top of it, respectively.
  • Sniper Elite V2 has a mission where you have to plant charges in specific locations to destroy a V-2 rocket facility. The charges tick like time bombs, but it's not a Timed Mission. In fact, you then have to head through the actual rocket storage bay to search an office — at which point a guard spots you and you have to fight your way out. About halfway through the battle, things start burning and you're told to get out, but you still have to mow through more guards, who are in no more of a hurry to escape than you are. Even after you're out of the facility, but you still have time to fight your way through the yard before the place goes up like a Roman candle.
  • STALKER: Clear Sky. Your central nervous system has apparently been damaged by being caught out in not one, but two emissions, and over time it'll be more and more damaged until you eventually become a zombie. The only solution to this is to stop the Zone from going nuts by finding out whoever's getting too close to the center and ending them. No rush, though, feel free to sit through dozens of emissions and hunt for all the artifacts you want.
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, you take down the barrier that prevents entry to the center of the Zone, starting a rush towards the artifact-rich area. You're told via radio that you'd better get a move on if you want to get in on the profits, but there's nothing stopping you from turning around, walking all the way back to the starting village, hocking a bunch of gear, taking a few side missions, fending off a bandit attack, hunting some artifacts for petty cash, maybe grabbing lunch, and then heading back just in time to join up with a bunch of other stalkers who were heading towards Pripyat.
    • In Call of Pripyat, you're sent in to find out what happened to an entire heliborne platoon of soldiers that were heading towards the center of the Zone. They're in an extremely hostile area, filled with people who shoot anyone wearing a military uniform on sight, short on supplies and ammo and are waiting on you and you alone to find them and get them home. Feel free to help out literally everyone else in the Zone before examining so much as a single crash site. They'll wait.
  • In Warframe, you can be running a quest that encourages you to act with haste to complete the next mission, and then go off to do something else (complete another mission, rank up with one of the factions, go fishing). The quest will still remain as it was, nothing having changed while you were goofing off. Needless to say, many were shocked when they started The New War and suddenly found that this trope was averted - from Act 2 onwards the Sentients win, and there is literally nothing else to do until you complete the quest.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Battletech:
    • Played straight in the career mode. Despite the civil war at the centre of the plot being a time-critical situation, you can spend as much in-game time as you like taking mercenary missions and working on your crew. This even extends to the postgame as historically 3025 was an interbellum everyone knew was delaying the inevitable and war could erupt any day.
    • Averted in Career mode, for pretty much the exact same reason. You have a limited amount of time to build your mercenary company's prestige score, with the end date being the canonical start of the next massive war.
  • In all of the Nippon Ichi RPGs, plot progresses at the speed which you fight the story battles, meaning that you can grind to the Absurdly High Level Cap of 9999, reincarnate, and do it again as many times as you want in the random dungeons and whatever "dire" situation is still there waiting for you to resolve it. (This gets particularly silly in Disgaea 3, where Almaz is supposedly cursed to become a demon after so many hours, a time limit that you can eventually pass once you take long enough to grind.)
    • There's also the point in the second game, when the protagonist's kid brother falls into a river and gets swept away, and is at risk of drowning or getting eaten by monsters. You can still go back to the village, do some grinding, push a few bills in the Assembly... lampshaded if you talk to your mom, and she points out that you should be saving your brother instead.
    • Interestingly, La Pucelle makes this into a plot point: Noir, having captured Dark Prince Croix, intends on sacrificing him to summon the Fallen Angel Calamity, and then take her power for his own. However, he holds off, waiting to confront the group and test his resolve against theirs (or so he says after the battle; it's implied that he held off due to Prier reminding him of his deceased mother). Alouette even outright states that had Noir executed his plan at the earliest opportunity, victory was all but guaranteed to him.
  • The weirdest example of Final Fantasy series goes to Final Fantasy Tactics. The game actually has date count. Year by year, the heroes get older and older. Despite this, starting his hunt for the Corrupt Church, which kidnaps his sister and tries to waken a goddess to destroy the world, at the age of 18, Ramza and his army can spend their time Level Grinding, completing subquests, getting a Secret Character, ultimate equipments, and hidden spells then finally go save his sister and the world by the time he's older than 30. Yet no one has actually aged and the situation never changes.
    • Trying to leave the final dungeon in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 will start a short skit where Luso asks if it's really okay to leave...and then Cid responds that nobody really cares about the Big Bad at all, and doesn't care how long it takes to come back and fight her.
      • Which is pretty funny because when you do reach the final boss, she tells you that you're late, even if you immediately go confront her after being warped to the final area.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Unless it's a Timed Mission or there's some other time-sensitive event, chances are anyone who doesn't care about their Tactics score will stand around for hours building supports, beating up the boss for experience, arena-whoring, etc. It's especially notable in that you can do it even when it should be logically impossible. For example, in Fire Emblem: Awakening there's absolutely nothing to stop you from running off to another continent to do some shopping between, even though according to the storyline the player is trapped between two armies.
    • One exception is The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Fire Emblem Gaiden. Celica's army is locked in battle while Alm has to find the Sword of Plot Advancement and make his way to her through a labyrinthine tower. During the sequence, you constantly get reports of the damage Celica's forces are taking. Take too long, and getting all of her army out alive becomes extremely unlikely.
    • In chapter 6 of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Flayn, a young resident of Garreg Mach Monastery, goes missing, and her older brother Seteth is inconsolably worried about the danger she might be in. You must find some leads and figure out where she's gone. However, nothing is stopping you from first spending up to three weeks of in-game time having tea with your students, eating meals with people, fishing, and doing other mundane things before you're forced to follow the main plot thread at the end of the month.
  • You can take your time before entering the final dungeon in the Luminous Arc series, even when the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
  • Your character in Ogre Battle 64 has birthdays, complete with a party and presents. You can age Magnus to 100 years old, but the characters appear no older, his dad will still be alive, and the bad guys' plans don't advance. Except that if you do, each birthday party results in increasingly grumpy comments by all of the guests about how long this is taking.
  • At at least one point in Shining Force II, a whole castle is allegedly falling apart while the screen shakes. You can take all the time you want to leave; the screen will just keep shaking.
  • Super Robot Wars 30 has main missions required to progress the story, optional missions that provide more story and earlier access to characters and upgrades, and repeatable plotless missions that exist only for the sake of level grinding. There's a hidden time limit before the characters will receive an emergency call and be forced to do another main mission, but it's more than enough to allow doing every optional mission and quite a few runs of the grinding missions.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown encourages this. While it is certainly possible to focus only on essential research, facilities, and missions, doing so means facing Beef Gate enemies long before you're equipped to deal with them. It's a much better idea to slow down, tech up, and take on the story-critical missions when you actually need the global panic reduction. And once you can handle endgame enemy formations, there's not much stopping you stalling out indefinitely to complete the Tech Tree.
  • XCOM 2 plays with this. Like the first game, rushing through the critical path is a sure way to end up in over your head. On the other, the whole campaign is a Timed Mission with limited options for stalling. Balancing your own progress with that of the Avatar Project is part of the strategy. It wasn't until the War of the Chosen expansion (which also added a raft of new content to experience in that time limit) that tools are available to stall the project indefinitely, and even then, only by the late game.

    Visual Novel 

    Western RPG 
  • Most of the time in Alpha Protocol, if there's no explicit onscreen timer, you can bum around exploring and waiting for cooldowns to complete in-mission and fly between safehouses as much as you want without penalty, regardless of what implied urgency there is. Prevent Surkov's Escape is one exception; you must do it immediately after the previous mission or miss out on it. It's not clear whether this is a bug or a Defied Trope.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura shows the date on screen, but for the most part you can travel around the world doing whatever you want while everyone and everything waits for you to reach the next step of a sidequest or the main plot. One example is the inventor of the flying machines that were used to attack the zeppelin at the start of the game as he will tell you that they were stolen from his workshop recently even if you meet him six years after the crash.
  • In Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn, you can run all over the countryside, Level Grinding and building Infinity Plus One Swords — and when you finally get around to rescuing Imoen from the prison she was sent to at the beginning of the game, she'll still be fine. And when you leave the prison, you can dawdle all you want in the Underdark and then complete all the quests you missed, despite the fact that your soul has been stolen from you and her, and both of you are supposed to be wasting away and dying without them.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Despite having a chip in your head that's trying to overwrite your brain, and a narrative which insists that it's quite urgent for you to solve this problem, the game presents you with a wide-open city full of side quests and other diversions for you to explore, including mercenary missions for various "Fixers" that have nothing to do with getting you out of your predicament.
    • Somewhat explained in that the time it will take for the problem to unfold is initially given as several weeks, and at the end of the game expanded to six months, so whilst the problem is urgent, it is not imminent within the timeframe of the game.
  • At one point in Deus Ex, the main character's killswitch is activated. The player is told at several points that J.C. has X hours left to live, but these points are specifically scripted, and the player can take as long as they want to get to Tracer Tong and deactivate the switch.
    • Just as you get to Tong and deactivate it, JC comments that it's been some time but he still feels fine. Paul seemed to show adverse symptoms relatively rapidly (not that this stops him from running about shooting lots of MJ12 troops). Meanwhile JC's flown from New York to Hong Kong in a helicopter in 11 hours (24 hour timer has 23 hours just before the start, and 12 hours have passed after activating a bit after landing) and is still in tip-top condition.
    • If you managed to help Paul fight his way out alive he somehow manages to get to Tracer and have his killswitch deactivated, but he always shows up after you've had yours deactivated even though he had less time left.
    • When you destroy the welding points on the superfreighter, Tong warns you that the ship will tear itself apart in 30 minutes. And yet, you can chill on the boat until the sun burns out, but it will never sink with you on it. (Also, as you leave the area Tong will tell you the ship is finally sinking—but you can still return and see that it is not.)
    • Subverted in the first mission of the prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You are sent to handle a hostage situation, but if you dick around the Sarif Offices too long, the hostages will be executed, and you'll arrive only to have to fight Purists. The Developer Commentary reveals it was originally not going to be timed, before someone realized "Oh my god, it's all smoke and mirrors!" and the dev team raced to squeeze in what they needed for the hostage execution scenario right at the end of development.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided follows Human Revolution's pattern of planting a seed of doubt for the player early on, then generally playing the trope straight for the rest of the game. In this case, however, the consequences of taking your time are more subtle, and may even work to the player's advantage - depending on how long the player takes to get to the atrium in Dubai, the sandstorm mentioned in the opening cutscene may or may not have already hit when they join the action.
  • No matter how quickly or slowly you progress through the quests in Diablo II, you're always just a step behind the Dark Wanderer. No matter how long it takes to get through the expansion chapter, you can never beat Baal to the Worldstone, but he doesn't have time to finish corrupting it and leave.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II:
  • Played straight in Dragon Age: Origins. The Blight never gets past Lothering until the plot advances far enough. Indeed, every location in the game seems to be frozen in one point in time, until the player does something to advance the plot.
    • You can wander around the Mage Tower all you like and you never have to worry about the demons taking it over or the Templars storming it and killing all the mages, assuming you failed. The same happens in The Fade.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, the attack on Amaranthine and Vigil's Keep do not go off until you arrive to stop it.
    • Early on, when you have to light the beacon, you can look around the tower for as much loot as possible and take your time doing it even though every character up to that point has been saying how quickly this task must be done.
    • Arguably most gratuitous in the Take a Third Option quest at the end of the Redcliffe arc. You can elect to go to the mages tower instead of making a decision of whether to kill a possessed child, who is possessed by a demon capable of making the dead rise, or to sacrifice his mother to get the demon out. There are no consequences for this decision, you can faff around as much as you like on the trip to the mages tower and back without consequences, despite there being the very real danger of the abomination going berserk and killing everyone in the castle. And if you haven't already completed the Mage Tower main quest at this point, you have enough time to do that (including the lengthy Fade sequence) and get back to Redcliffe with no consequences.
    • What's worse is that if you do the mage origin, Wynne will ask you how long you've been away from the Tower, and your answer? One Year. Which means that it takes roughly one year just to go to Ostagar, witness a battle, pass through Lothering, spend one day at Redcliffe, and fight your way to the top of a tower (assuming you proceed in the intended order). Given that this is about a quarter of the game, it's theoretically possible to leave elves in pain and shapeshifting into werewolves, let the dwarves continue fighting over succession and watch Arl Eamon die slowly of poison with a demon-possessed child in his room, for up to four years.
      • And if you play the Return to Ostagar DLC, you can find King Cailan's body after all this time, and somehow it's still intact and not at all decomposed.
    • The only exception is the saving of Redcliffe village — Take Your Time around the village, but if you leave to go anywhere else, it's completely destroyed when you come back. But even this doom only triggers when you actually arrive at Redcliffe. If you avoid going there at all, the undead hordes will stay back so the attack will always happen the night after you first arrive regardless of when you do so.
  • In Drakensang you can always take your time to solve quests, even those in the main line. This is especially jarring in the first and third Oracle quests (in the former, you've to rescue a mage who's keeping a barrier against a horde of zombies in a swamp, the latter deals with an army of Orcs and Ogres sieging a castle).
  • The Elder Scrolls: In general throughout the series, this is played straight with very few exceptions in line with the series' Wide-Open Sandbox nature. Even as the Big Bad stands ready to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, there is no harm in taking 20 hours to finish that faction questline or collect those 20 Bear Asses for that trader in that remote village. The only exceptions are quests which give you as specific time limit, and these are very few and far between. To note some specific examples by game:
    • Daggerfall is the only game in the series which lacks an oncoming disaster as part of the main quest, yet, amusingly and ironically, is the game in the series with the most main quest missions that have time limits. In fact, the very first mission of the main quest requires you to meet with Lady Brisienna, an agent of the Blades, and has a time limit. If you don't meet with her within that time limit, the rest of the main quest is completely cut off to you. Even more ironic is that Daggerfall offers a good justification for you to delay the main quest - doing favors and completing quests for the movers and shakers of the Iliac Bay region will make them less inclined to think you are a spy for the Emperor (and doing favours and quests unrelated to your actual mission obfuscates what it is).
    • Morrowind starts off without the majority of the populace knowing of the looming threat of Dagoth Ur. (His return, connection to the Blight, and connection to the Nerevarine Prophecies have been covered up by the Tribunal Temple.) Your role is as an agent of the Blades, and through the first third of the main quest, you undertake missions to learn more about Dagoth Ur's Sixth House Cult and the Nerevarine Prophecies. As you undertake these missions, it is explicitly recommended to you by your Blades superior to forge a reputation as a freelance adventurer and join some of the guilds/factions in order to establish a cover identity. Later, as the main quest ramps up and it becomes evident that Dagoth Ur is an extreme threat to the future of existence, there is less justification to put off completing the main quest.
    • Oblivion:
      • The presence of this trope is in extreme conflict with game's main quest. In fact, the tutorial ends with the Emperor's assassination and you very much aware of the threat of an invasion from Oblivion. It is heavily implied that time is of the essence as you need to rescue the Emperor's Hidden Backup Prince and recover the MacGuffin he needs in order to stop the Oblivion Crisis. However, like the other games in the series, you are perfectly free to wander off and explore the massive open world as if nothing is wrong.
      • Even worse, very few of the world's NPCs seem to care or comment about their impending doom, continuing their lives, running their businesses, committing petty crimes, etc. as if nothing is wrong. You'd think a thousand wild conspiracy theories would flourish, but no, everyone agrees it was the magical cult that did it, and that's the end of it. Where's the "Last Seed 27 Truth Movement"?
      • One main quest mission has a demonic doomsday device about to enter the mortal world through an Oblivion Gate, and if you take 15 minutes+ to finish, said device does enter the portal, and you receive a Non-Standard Game Over. Fortunately you can easily complete the mission in well under the required time limit.
    • Skyrim:
      • Similar to the state of Cyrodiil in Oblivion, the province of Skyrim is in dire straits. A Civil War threatens to escalate at any moment, dragons have suddenly returned from thousands of years of presumed extinction, and it is widely known that Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, has appeared while you are the only person capable of stopping him. But whoa now! What's your rush? You've still got time to join all the local guilds, bring the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves' Guild Back from the Brink, become a Thane and buy (or build!) a house in every hold, track down all the Daedric artifacts, get married, adopt some kids, clean out every bandit camp in the country, and mine the ore needed for your Infinity +1 Sword (oh, and max out your Smithing skill so you can forge it). Alduin can (and does) sit his spiny butt down and wait, you've got shit to do!
      • This even works in the player's favor. Dragons will not start randomly appearing until you complete "Dragon Rising", an early quest in the main quest line. So you can do all of the above without having to deal with dragons if you so choose. The irony is that you're told in the beginning of the game to immediately alert the Jarl of Whiterun about dragons being on the loose, but as long as you don't complete "Dragon Rising," you'll never see another dragon attack.
      • Can be subverted with the "End Times" mod, which gives a hard time limit to finish the main quest. It's not a hard example, as in its default state the mod still gives the player a full in-game year; plenty of time to master whatever skills they desire and complete whatever quests strike their fancy.
  • In the Exile (Later remade as Avernum) series:
    • In the first game, there is no immediate danger to Exile/Avernum, as the Slithzerikai are at a stalemate with the humans, so you can take as much time as you want wandering the underground world. It does apply once you free the demon prince Grah-Hoth from his prison, and are told you need to banish him before he can rebuild his army, but there's no time pressure to do so.
    • In the second game, the introductory text says that every day you waste is another day the Empire can bring down more soldiers, conquer more lands, and kill more people. Despite that, there's no time constraints, and aside from a few towns that are already destroyed by the time you get to them, the Empire never claims more territory, or completes any of its bigger plans.
    • This is finally fixed Exile/Avernum 3. There is a day counter in the game, and if you fail to stop the monster plagues ravaging the continent, towns will end up being damaged, and eventually destroyed and abandoned. Key NPCs would either hide in the ruins, or relocate to more fortified towns that wouldn't be destroyed, so the game was never unwinnable.
  • Eye of the Beholder and its sequels even informed the player about the amount of time that had passed while the party was resting, but no matter how many days you spent sleeping, the Big Bad never quite got around to completing his nefarious plans.
  • In Fable, the final sequence of missions has the Hero try (unsuccessfully, since You Can't Thwart Stage One) to prevent the villain from recovering the Artifact of Doom that would let him conquer the world. If you want to take care of some Sidequests, shopping, fishing trips, or whatnot, you can tell the Guildmaster that you're not ready, in which case he says to finish your business and come back when you want to save the world.
    • A particularly notorious example in Fable III: After you become King/Queen, you learn that an Eldritch Abomination will attack your kingdom in one year, and equipping your army to fight it will be very expensive. For the next few in-game months, you face several moral choices in the vein of "spend money to do something good, or screw over your people to get money for the Eldritch Abomination Defense Fund." (Invest in public schooling, or promote child labor? Build a sewer system, or dump the waste in a lake? Etc.) However, the countdown only changes when you voluntarily trigger the Event Flags, so you can take as long as you want on sidequests and the real-estate minigame to earn enough money to be The Good King and still meet your financial needs.
  • In Fallout 2, the shaman in your village give you warnings when you take too long getting the G.E.C.K, but nothing actually happens to the village until you do get it. There's a timed mission in the 2nd game which you have to complete in several in-game days, however, or you fail.
  • In Fallout 3, there comes a point in the main questline when the bad guys are about to take control of a vital piece of technology. You can of course, just say you need a while longer, and nothing will happen (apart from some new random encounters). Finally, you can pop back into the Brotherhood of Steel's Citadel, say you are ready, and emerge again to see the Enclave have set up turrets, mortars and troops everywhere during the two minutes you were inside.
    • Also, at the end when you are following Liberty Prime and the other Brotherhood of Steel troops through DC, if you are with them they will run off ahead at their own pace, with you just appearing to be little more than another rank and file trooper. However, you can wander off and explore the world for weeks and the entire Brotherhood army will just stand about and wait up for you.
    • Enterprising players have discovered that some quest NPCs will follow you until you reach a certain destination or complete their quest. If you never actually go to that destination, the NPCs will simply tag along as free backup indefinitely. If you do this in a specific order, you can have as many as seven characters following you (though this prevents you from entering some quest hubs).
    • Then there's the mission "Reilly's Rangers", in which Reilly, who was injured in a super mutant attack, asks you to save the rest of her team, who are pinned down on the roof of a hotel surrounded by a small army of mutants. You're also told that, while fleeing the mutants, the guy carrying the ammo box was killed and they were unable to retrieve it (meaning they're probably low on ammo). You can ignore the urgency and instead go get the Chinese Stealth Armor from the Operation: Anchorage DLC and an Infiltrator from The Pitt (or, even better, The Perforator, a unique version that takes longer to get) to make pushing through an army of heavily armed super mutants easier (which can take weeks) before finally tackling the mission. You get to the roof just in time to help the rangers in a fire fight.
      • And that's just after getting the quest from Riley. To wake her up you have to use your Medicine skill or use Speech to convince the doctor to do it. If your skills aren't high enough (or you just ignored her)she might have been lying unconscious for weeks or months, but the Rangers will still be just fine.
    • For the quest "Those!" Bryan Wilks stays in a cramped single-person fallout shelter while you go deal with the fire breathing giant ants infesting the town. But if you decide you want to finish the quest later, don't worry, he'll still be there. Maybe he sneaks out for food?
    • Then there's Point Lookout, which takes a month of game time to travel to. Any quests you left hanging back in the Wasteland will be unaffected by your time away. Conversely, the 200+ mile rail handcar journey to The Pitt does not pass any game time. Within Point Lookout itself, there's also the quest to destroy a sunken Chinese submarine using detonation codes recovered from the corpse of a pre-War spy - you've only got ten seconds to get away from it once you're out of the sub, but between entering those codes and actually leaving you've got all the time in the world.
  • Fallout: New Vegas continues this tradition. The second battle of Hoover Dam is about to happen. Every major faction in the game will be participating. And yet, the battle is delayed as long as it takes for you to do whatever else you want.
    • In fact, you need to finish the four DLC stories before you finish the game since there is no post-game. Honest Hearts starts with a one-month timeskip for the journey Utah and ends with another one-month timeskip when you return. And since the best time to do the DLC stories is near the end of the main story (when you're at a high level and have decent weapons), the NCR and Legion will be waiting at least two months to finally fight over the Hoover Dam.
    • No matter how long you take, Benny will wait forever at the Tops for you to show up and foil his plan.
  • The majority of quests in Fallout 4 have this, but the Minutemen Radiant quests (helping settlements deal with raiders/super mutants/ghouls/kidnappers) and settlement defense objectives will fail if you don't complete them in time.
  • GreedFall: has this in both main and side quests.
    • The main plot revolves around looking for a cure to the plague, of which your mother is dying from and your cousin becomes infected with but ultimately, you can just wander the woods killing beasts for XP and it won't change a thing.
    • One of your companions urges you to go to a battlefield to help her mother and clan with the fighting. Hurry as you might, or drag your feet doing literally every other quest won't change the outcome. You always arrive Just in Time to help Eseld and too late to save their mother.
    • One notable aversion with Kurt's personal quests. If De Sardet does not assist him getting to the bottom of Reiner's death and ending the torture camp before finding out the truth of their origin, he will betray them and either force De Sardet to kill him, or kill himself.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has this in full force. That woman who got knifed and lays groaning on the street? Yeah, she can wait a week or two for that first aid you're supposed to be providing.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Darth Malak only seems to attack Dantooine after the third piece of the star forge is found. He also doesn't enter the Star Forge no matter how much you doof around playing Pazaak. And during the ending of the first game on the Light side, the Republic Fleet can apparently hold out no matter how much time you spend running around killing mooks before getting to the final fight with Bastila.
    • Taris also never gets destroyed, but it's justifiable considering that usually, the Sith are looking for Bastila and won't glass the planet just yet, as the orbital strike would inevitably lead to Never Found the Body.
  • One of the main quests in Mass Effect is actually called "Race Against Time", in which you have to find the Conduit before Saren does. This quest kicks in relatively early in the storyline, and you can Take Your Time for as long as you like - no matter how much time you spend cruising the galaxy prospecting for mineral deposits between advancing plot points, an actual time limit only kicks in when you are actually within sight of your objective (at which point there's nowhere else to go anyway).
    • Furthermore, once you've stolen the Normandy and become a fugitive from the Citadel, you can complete all of the side quests you want that don't involve going back to the Citadel, even though the trip to Ilos (the aforementioned Race Against Time) is supposed to be of the utmost importance. If you do any of the sidequests that involve the Alliance, you'll be contacted by Alliance leaders as normal, even though you've stolen a prototype Alliance warship and committed mutiny.
    • The DLC mission "Bring Down the Sky" tells you repeatedly that the asteroid you're on will crash into Terra Nova in four hours. You can take all the time you like to start the mission, and all the time you like to complete it once started, provided you don't start the mission that triggers the end of the game.
    • Mass Effect 2 generally plays this trope straight, but near the end of the game the Collectors invade the Normandy and kidnap the crew and you're given the option of starting the final mission immediately and entering the Point of No Return, or delaying in order to strengthen your team more. If you do more than one sidequest before proceeding with the main questline, half your crew will die in a most horrific fashion by the time you get to them. Do more than two sidequests and only Doctor Chakwas survives. Considering that the aforementioned penultimate mission involves the recruitment of a character (thus restricting your time spent with them if you want the Golden Ending), this is a clear example of why so many consider this trope an Acceptable Break From Reality.
    • Mass Effect 3 has a strange relationship with this trope: Earth and quite a few other of the most important and influential planets of the galaxy are under attack by the Reapers from literally the first few minutes of the game, and the majority of the game's atmospheric background NPC chatter and flavor text emphasises how every minute you spend running around the galaxy, people are dying in droves; the main plot-advancing missions are identified by the label "Priority." In general, Priority missions are the only ones not on a time limit - these will wait as long as the player likes, whereas optional sidequests left undone will often expire after the main storyline has progressed passed a certain point, often with tragic consequences. Then there are a few that just disappear into limbo; if you don't complete the notoriously buggy hanar diplomat mission before Priority: Tuchanka, you never find out anything about what happened, it's not clear whether Bau managed to solve the problem or not, and the planet Kahje spends the entire rest of the war in a state of quantum indeterminacy.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda continues to follow this one. Those other Arks? They'll keep. Liam's got a friend in trouble? Jaal's got a family crisis? Hey, why not drive around Eos looking for that mineral sample you said you'd find? No rush, after all.
      • The exception is one mission, involving the kett fighting each other. Leave it until after defeating the Big Bad and all the enemies you would have had to fight have been murdered by The Dragon and her forces, and instead of aforementioned deal, you get messages from the Dragon outlying what her plan of action is now that she's in charge.
  • The Might and Magic series had very few timed quests, although the degree to which this trope applies to the main quests varies — Might & Magic VIII is a strong offender, as there's an approaching threat (a planar invasion) that never actually manifests no matter how long you take doing other things, while in VII the plot is almost entirely driven by the player characters' actions, and one of the few quest arcs that isn't actually is timed.
  • In Neopets: The Darkest Faerie, they justify this in the last act, set in a city trapped in slowed time, meaning that you can Take Your Time and return in time to defeat the Big Bad.
  • In the Neverwinter Nights games, this trope is handily illustrated by their various attempts to bring resting from the Dungeons & Dragons rules into the games, allowing players to interrupt any crisis with a representation of what is supposed to be an 8-hour nap, including sometimes in short breaks in the midst of battle.
    • In the expansion Storm of Zehir, resting is restricted to actual beds and outdoor camping (somewhat at the price of the complexity of dungeons, all of which needed to be surmountable without the benefit of resting). Still, the possibility remains of going into a dungeon, fleeing from the horrors inside out the front door, setting up camp literally on their doorstep, and charging back in with a full night's rest - said horrors, of course, politely refraining from trying to escape or pursue you.
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire: Applies by default, but if you use the "Eothas' Challenge" difficulty option, there is a time limit to beat each main quest, or else the antagonist completes his plan and the game ends. There are also some sidequests that will fail if you leave the area after starting them.
  • In the old SSI Dungeons & Dragons RPG, Secret of the Silver Blades, your party can rest for up to 99 days at a time, as often as you like, and the Black Circle will be no closer to freeing the Dreadlord from his icy prison until just before the PCs get there.
  • In Ultima Underworld II, everyone has been trapped in Castle British by the Guardian's spell, and problems like running out of food and water are explicitly alluded to. Despite this, the plot only progresses when you make it. This is particularly odd given that the game does have a time system, you can sleep to pass time and check the time on your pocket watch, but still nothing significant happens without the player character triggering it.
    • In Ultima VII the planetary alignment of course does not actually occur until you reach the chamber of the Black Gate.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure: The days last as long as you need them to, with time only progressing when you trigger events. After Ines tells you she's done for the day, and your grandparents tell you to come home when you want dinner, the day will remain at sunset until you decide to go home.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man does this frequently. Several missions lure you into a false sense of urgency (quick, the Spider-Slayer is heading to your apartment to capture Connors - better hurry! Gwen is infected with a virus...she's running out of time!), but the story won't progress until you head to the objective marker. You can spend hours looking for comic pages, doing side missions or swinging around the city and no one will do anything until you start a plot mission. Though Spider-Man won't shut up about it till its done.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, despite Hugo Strange stating the countdown till Protocol 10 throughout the game and the fact you are rapidly dying from blood poisoning, you can pretty much do whatever you want between the main mission from completing side missions, finding Riddler Trophies, or just beat up random mooks for fun.
  • Bully had a partial aversion. Each class was held on one particular day of the week, so if you miss it or fail the challenge, you had to wait three in-game days (five in the Scholarship Edition, which added several new classes) to take it again. Jimmy could also only stay awake until 2 AM, at which point he'd pass out and the player would fail any mission he was doing. That said, missions could be performed on any day of the week, with the progression of the school year based on story progress rather than real time.
  • Endless Ocean proudly wears this idea on its sleeve, with in-game characters constantly assuring you that there's no pressure on when you should complete tasks assigned to you.
  • The Forest hangs a big fat lampshade on it. Although the main driver of the game is that your son has been kidnapped, you can take all the time you want exploring the forest and building up your base. Spending 100 days without finding him nets you an achievement called "Bad Father", and building a gazebo in your base will earn "You should be looking for Timmy".
    • Sons of the Forest has an odd variant. Unlike most examples, there is a defined time limit for you to get to safety before everybody on the island is mutated into hideous zombie-things: “eight cycles.” It then cheats this by simply not explaining what a “cycle” is supposed to be, even though it’s a defined unit of time in-universe and people are walking around with countdown clocks. Could be five hours, could be five years.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, there are some missions that imply time pressure, such as going to the hospital after Don Vito gets shot, but if there's no explicit timer you can spend your time extorting businesses, taking hit contracts and generally ambling around aimlessly as long as you like.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series largely averts this, as it's rife with Timed Missions, but there are a few classic Take Your Time moments. For example, random gang leaders will instruct you to "get to the payphone in [district]," implying that they're calling right now. You, of course, can wait on it for in-game weeks or months, and the phone will always be ringing.
    • Humorously averted in IV. At one point early on, you can go on a date or help out your cousin from getting beaten up. If you choose the former, your cousin calls you afterwards, complaining that you didn't help him out. The mission still happens regardless, though.
      • The same thing happens at the end with Roman's wedding. It's scheduled for 10:30 AM, but if you miss it, Roman will call and complain but will allow you to come the next day. You can miss it as many times as you want.
    • If you do exceptionally poorly in a gunfight, it is possible to escape and grab some lunch (restoring your health), and buy more armor and guns before returning to the fight.
  • inFAMOUS 2 has a screen that comes up whenever loading a game and between chapters stating how far The Beast is from arriving in New Marais, and Cole is often told he needs to hurry to find the Blast Cores to power the RFI so he can fight it, but no matter how many side quest you go on or how long you spend doing player-made missions, The Beast doesn't arrive until you follow the plot missions.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War:
    • During Act I, Talion is assisting in the defense of Minas Ithil as its being besieged by Sauron's armies. Despite the city hanging by a thread, you are allowed to advance time either by your own choice or being killed by your enemies, pursue side activities and such that the city will not fall until you advance in the storyline.
    • In Carnan's questline, you must deal with a Balrog that has been unleashed on Mordor and will cause unspeakable devastation if left unchecked. At this point in the game, the map has opened up quite a lot and you are allowed to explore other regions and perform several activities without worrying about the Balrog, since he will not interfere in your side-activities.
  • Red Dead Redemption:
    • Although John Marston implies that he has only a small window of time to collect his former outlaw mates before his family dies a horrible death, you are free to take as long as you need to complete his quest.
    • The game still has shades of this trope even if you focus entirely on the main plot. Many story characters will end their quests by asking John to meet them somewhere for the next stage of the quest or telling you to go see some other character to start their questline. But generally speaking, you can do these quests in whatever order you please, leading to some awkward pauses in the middle of certain questlines.
    • In what's probably the apex of this trope, all of the sidequests except one can be started at any time, left dormant, and then completed after the storyline has been beaten... at which point John Marston will have died, three years will have passed, and you'll have started playing as his grown son Jack. So it's entirely possible to begin a sidequest as John and complete it with Jack, with none of the characters noticing that an entirely different person started working for them.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • Arthur's tuberculosis would supposedly give him weeks to live at most, but the progression of it is only affected by the main story, meaning you can roam the open world completing sidequests as long as you like without him succumbing to his illness.
    • Much like the previous game, sidequest chains can be left incomplete until after you've completed the main story, then finished as John, eight years after Arthur's death.
  • Mason can take his time in Red Faction: Guerrilla: The commander thinks Sam might be walking into an ambush — get over there right now! Or later! When you feel like it!
    • This also applies within many missions. You can take as long as you need to recover from one fight before tackling the next; if the enemies are really giving you trouble, try holding position and letting them come to you to thin out their numbers. If you accept a mission to rescue prisoners, the EDF will learn nothing useful from them until you arrive. And in the final mission, you can scale Mt. Vogel as slowly and carefully as you please, and chill at the top for as long as you want — with Death from Above on a planetary scale mere moments away!
  • In Subnautica, your character is infected with a bacterium that is responsible for killing billions of aliens, but there's nothing stopping you from building your underwater base for as long as you like. Then again, considering your exposure to the imperfect cure contained within Peepers, which were essentially made to spread the curing enzyme everywhere and which you'll have likely dined upon frequently, it's understandable.
  • Terraria does this twice back-to-back in the endgame. A group of Cultists will gather around and start trying to perform a ritual to resurrect the Moon Lord. You are still free to do whatever you want, as they will never finish this ritual on their own. Fighting them and killing their leader will summon an apocalypse of sorts, where four Pillars will appear around the world swarming with enemies. As long as you stay away from the Pillars themselves, you will be fine and they will never endanger any part of the world outside of their area.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Side Questing Is A Free Action


"Eh, My Son can Wait."

Angry Joe parodies how the main quest in Fallout 4 is often sidetracked by the various other quests and activities in the game.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeYourTime

Media sources: