Design Director Scott Phillips said that Saints Row IV's missions have been changed to "more of a quest log structure" and that the missions "are more organized". Phillips believes that it's "just a better structure to pull people through the game".
The plot is divided into Quests. Each Quest may have multiple objectives. Each Objective may have multiple requirements. Objectives include both Missions and Activities. Missions and Activities have standard completion screens which show the title, while other Objectives and Quest completion messages appear on-screen during gameplay.
Side Quests become available after some missions. Side Quest Objectives consist of Activities, Diversions, Challenges or simply using a store.
The leaked Achievement/Trophy "Where in the World is..." is awarded for completing a mission named "Best Laid Plans"; a mission of the same name appears in the first Saints Row, however this achievement and mission were not in the final game.
It was claimed in pre-release interviews that there would be no forced Activities.[reference?] There are 4 Activities which must be completed to fulfil quest objectives, as well as 3 unskippable tutorial missions.
There are 4 auto-starting missions before free-roaming is available, which is the greatest number of forced missions in the series.
There are no Strongholds in Saints Row IV, and the game data files only contain references to Saints Row: The Third Strongholds.
"Tower Exploration", labelled MM_1_4, was the mission name for the "Explore the Tower" objective, and was supposed to be the 4th mission in the "Learn the Rules..." quest.
"A State Of Mind", labelled MM_3_1, was the mission name for the "Simulated Fraud" objective, and was supposed to take place after Power Up CID.
"Got To Get Me One", labelled MM_3_2, was the mission name for the "This Tank's For You" objective. Unlike other cut missions, the unused audio files and subtitles for this mission remain in the game files. This mission after this is MM_3_2, Prof. Genki's Mind Over Murder.
"Get CID" was supposed to be mission "M04". "M03" is The Real World, and "M05" is Power Up CID. This is the only instance of full mission number being skipped.
"Suppressed" was supposed to be the mission name for the "Talkie Talkie" quest. The internal string name for the quest log "Talk To Matt Miller" is "SUPPRESSION_MISSION_NAME". The Zin started using Suppression Grenades in the previous quest. Volition developers have revealed that there was originally different audio when speaking to Matt Miller, but that they do not know why it was changed.