I've been playing SR3 again after playing SR4 for some time. I've noticed that in SR3 (like in SR2), some homies can not be called to be a follower on certain instances (their phones will give out a busy signal). This is unlike in SR4, where homies can be asked to follow you almost anytime and anywhere even when you have an active mission in Steelport*, and even shortly after they were just dismissed or shortly after the homie / player character dies.

Homie's (Pierce) phone giving out a busy signal

I know that homies can't be called as a follower most of the time when you currently have a mission active. But even if I don't have any mission active, some homies' phones still give out a busy signal when called. I also know that there's a cooldown period before you can call a homie again to be a follower after they have been dismissed.

In instances where I don't have a mission active, what causes the homies' phones to give a busy signal when called? And how does this work?

  • How long is the cooldown period before you can call a homie again to be a follower after they have been called previously (after being dismissed or after the homie / player character dies)?
  • Are there locations where you can't call a homie to be a follower?
  • Are there certain events (not necessarily active missions) where homies won't be able to be a follower?

* Actually "Fake Steelport" or "the Simulation"

  • I'm going to guess that It has something to do with being in a mission and unable to call for your homies assistance. I find that whenever I'm on a mission that it does that.
    – Miguel
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 4:44
  • 2
    It has been a while since i've played SR3, but I do remember that homies have a cooldown period to become a follower, after they have already become one. Also there are some events/missions where the hommy in question is being attacked and such. Then they can't join either.
    – Lyrion
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 11:56
  • This is simply to give a realistic effect towards the game , anyways if one homie is busy it will always allow you to call in another . Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 23:26
  • This is answered here: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/37145/… Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 16:16
  • @BenSloboda I know that there's a cooldown period. What I'm looking to know here is how exactly this works, e.g. how long, exactly is the cooldown period (among other inquiries regarding homie phone 'busy signal' mechanics)? (Edited my question to clarify this.) Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


As has already been mentioned, there is a cooldown time before you can reuse a homie, but there is also a special case here which isn't commonly known.

You can't call up homies while you're in the middle of a storyline mission. That would cause all sorts of confusion to begin with but the mechanics would also be problematic. While that is perfectly sensible, it causes a problem for the 3 way mission. You complete it once, and you think you're done. You even get the credits up. The game tells you it's complete, but the mission is still there for you to play through the alternative ending.

What it doesn't tell you is that until you DO play through that alternate ending, you're considered as still being in mission. That means that all your homies et al are all busy, and won't unlock until you play through again.

So; if you haven't completed the 3 way mission twice, got the credits twice, then between the first and the second time all your homies will flag as busy.

Hope this helps.


"How long is the cooldown period before you can call a homie again to be a follower after they have been called previously (after being dismissed or after the homie / player character dies)?" "[H]ow long, exactly is the cooldown period[...]?"

I made some measurements in response to When does the helicopter homie respawn?. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the game as I used to, so that's all the measurements I have to show.

Outside of missions and activities, Homies shouldn't be busy. One of my only theories is that you're trying to call them while in mid-air, being hurt, in the process of entering or exiting a vehicle, and/or other such states which may affect call success. I remember trying to make calls, getting the busy signal, and then retrying—once I was truly idling—with success.

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