Escort missions have been known to appear across a variety of game genres, but are most commonly found in some form of action or role-playing game. The character or object which requires escorting may follow the player or move along a set path automatically, and typically has a limited amount of health which may or may not be openly displayed to the player. It is the player's task to defeat incoming enemies who may try to deplete the character/object's health using melee or ranged attacks. The escort character or object may or may not also be equipped with weaponry to defend themselves.
The character/object's health being entirely depleted constitutes a fail state in these missions, where the character will typically die or the object will be destroyed, while reaching a pre-set destination is usually the means to completing such missions successfully.
While escort missions have appeared in many games, they have been widely criticised by players for a number of reasons. Many players do not enjoy scenarios in which their success is tied to other characters or objects which cannot properly defend themselves, and other criticisms have included that in many of these missions players can feel somewhat powerless to prevent escort characters/objects from taking damage, that the characters/objects break the pacing of the game by moving too slowly, or that frustration can stem from the fact that in may cases ally AI may be unable to intelligently defend themselves or move intelligently through in-game environments in a way that avoids danger, due to a lack of sophistication that has existed in ally AI in video games for many years.