Missions are storyline objective tasks given to the protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto series by other characters in order to further advance the storyline. Missions act as a modern version of levels in video games, and the equivalent of quests in role-playing games. The completion of missions will often unlock other missions, safehouses and new locations.

Missions are usually given to the protagonist by contacts such as gang leaders, friends, or basically anyone in need of help in exchange for pay, either directly in person or through mediums such as phone calls, or e-mails. However some missions are taken on by the protagonist themselves in response to a changing situation or sudden event. Missions often contain scripted events designed specifically for that particular mission, such as pre-planned chase sequences and unique NPC actions to create a 'cinematic' feel.

Missions make up the most part of completion of the game, not least because they introduce and encapsulate many aspects of the game, including controls, vehicles, locations, weapons, food, clothing etc. Completion of the game is entirely optional, and only used as a personal statistic. However, most people prefer to complete the story missions so they can advance the storyline and see what happens next.

Story and Side Missions

Vehicle Missions

A Vehicle Mission is a side mission that is initiated from within a specific vehicle. Notable examples include the Vigilante, Taxi Driver and Paramedic missions. They make prominent appearances in every game in the GTA III Era and (following a notable reduction in Grand Theft Auto IV) Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Random Characters

In Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, side missions are triggered when the player gets close to a "random" character. These characters are out at certain times of day. Some have more then one side mission, that build up to create a mini story. Others branch off the main story to explain the results of certain events. They wait for the player to walk up to them at the sidewalk so they can "talk business".