In the vast majority of RPGs, once you beat the Final Boss and save the world, you don't get to freely explore and experience the world after it's been saved. If you're allowed to save your game file at all after the credits roll, it will probably just start you off from the first chapter (or final chapter) again. A playable epilogue is the exception to this rule. Sometimes this simply means that the cutscenes in the usual epilogue are interactive: You can walk around and chat with NPCs at your leisure, but not (e.g.) leave the town for some Dungeon Crawling or Level Grinding. (You probably won't have access to your usual Save Point either, so reloading your save file will necessarily return you to where you last were before facing the Final Boss.) Other times this is an actual bonus chapter set after the story's epilogue, which allows you to return to the game's world and explore it to your heart's content with no Big Bad or The End of the World as We Know It to threaten you. These are sometimes referred to as a "clear game" or "postgame", indicating that while you've cleared the game (i.e. story), the gameplay continues more or less as normal. When it's the latter case, expect to see a few bonus side quests or dungeons to provide motivation to keep playing (but do not expect to see a New Game+; the two are rarely combined). A form of Extended Gameplay, loosely analogous to And the Adventure Continues. See also Mini-Game Credits, in which only the closing company credits are interactive; and the videogame version of Dénouement Episode, where instead of an interactive cut scene there's an actual mandatory level/quest set after the Final Battle and before the ending of the game. Compare Modular Epilogue.
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- The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons games are unique in canon in that you can continue playing after you win, to allow the strange password system that connects the games to work. After the end, everyone comments on your saving the world and (in the first game only) a bunch of new NPCs show up ready to take passwords from the other game. If you play the second game in already-beat-the-other-game mode, though, the ending is different, and you can't save afterward.
- The original Myst allowed the player to continue wandering around the various worlds and exploring after completing the game, even though that's what the player had already spent the entire game doing. The remake, "realMyst," added an additional world that could be accessed at this point: it didn't deliver any more story, but offered a nice world-builder engine and a cameo appearance by Riven. There's also the opportunity to shoot lightning bolts at whales (don't worry, they have NPC invulnerability).
- In Mega Man Legends, after defeating the Final Boss, you can run around the Cardon Forest, Apple Market, and Downtown areas one last time talking to NPCs, whose dialogues changes depending on what side quests you did. Talking to Roll will then continue the ending and roll the credits.
- Ecco The Dolphin 2 had a three-stage playable epilogue.
- ToeJam & Earl and its sequel have epilogue levels where you just walk around and talk to the colorful alien characters.
- After completing each episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, you can access Extended Play via the Save/Load menu, which gives you an opportunity to access any unlockables you might have missed, and talk to all the characters. Episode 4 ("Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective") has the most in-depth Extended Play; Since the episode itself was a movie that the characters were filming, its Extended Play has some extra "Making Of"-style cutscenes.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum lets you continue playing after beating the final boss so that you can finish up The Riddler's challenges. Or go for a couple Achievements/Trophies. Arkham City is the same, but it also has side-quests on top of the Riddler Challenges.
- Hitman: Blood Money has an interesting variant. The game leads up to the supposed death of Mr. 47, and if you sit through the ending credits you will see his funeral. However you will notice that his health meter is on the screen during the credits, with just a pulsing sliver of health, and if you mash the controls enough he will revive from his death-like coma and the ending credits are interrupted while you play the truly final mission of the game.
- Endless Summer from Bully.
- After beating the final boss in Dragon's Crown, players discover that defeating the ancient dragon restored power to one of the three goddesses, and to restore the other goddesses' power, you must defeat two more ancient dragons, each more powerful than the last. This unlocks the Hard difficulty setting the first time you beat the game, and Infernal mode the second time. Players also unlock a Bonus Dungeon and PVP.
- Kameo Elements Of Power lets you run around as much as you want after you beat the Big Bad.
- Shadow of the Colossus had two short playable sections in its epilogue.
- Brütal Legend has the "get 100% completion" version of the playable ending, though you can also look up your surviving allies and find out how they're doing.
- Steambot Chronicles allows you to continue the game a year after the ending, starting from your returning from travelling abroad if you got the good ending, or spending a year in prison if you got the bad ending.
- Assassin's Creed:
- Assassin's Creed I left Desmond alone in the lab, giving him an opportunity to poke around and find all the plot hooks as well as go back into the Animus and replay the missions. Annoyingly, the only new bit of the lab that becomes available at the end is useless if you didn't steal Vidic's USB pen earlier in the game, and once the NPCs leave there's no way to get it.
- Assassins Creed II has this. Once the storyline is completed, you can traipse around Renaissance Italy to your hearts content, gather up trophies and complete side missions and whatnot. Of course, there's one single trophy that's missable - Fly Swatter can only ever be gotten during the mission with the flying machine. If you don't have that, well, it's 98% trophy completion for you, buddy! Luckily you can start a separate file to get it (albeit the flying machine is about two-thirds of the way through the story), or purchase the Battle of Forli DLC which adds a side mission where you can use the flying machine around the Wetlands and kick guards as much as you like.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood follows in the same vein as AC2, although the side missions' flavor text don't take your story progress into account, i.e. descriptions remaining as if the Borgia Regime were still in power. However, a post-credits voiceover suggests that this post-story "free play" is actually an attempt to keep the now comatose-Desmond alive by putting him back into the Animus, and the last memories of the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC were actually experienced during this coma. (The opening dialogue of the DLC differs depending on whether you start its first memory before or after clearing the story.)
- Assassins Creed III has one too, but it's very brief, including only some post-independence cutscenes and a pivot quest. There's also Tyranny of King Washington, but it's DLC.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag unsurprisingly contains this, especially so as the piracy aspects were loved enough to return from III. Players have the freedom to continue challenges on land, do the story perfectly, or just sail the seas to kill, plunder, and seek treasure.
- The movie's plotline for The Godfather: The Game ends with the assassination of the four Dons. After your promotion to Underboss by Michael, though, you're still able to take over the remaining enemy businesses, bomb the other four Family Compounds and collect stuff. You get to rise to Don with the bombing of all the enemy Family Compounds and Don of NYC by getting 90-something percent completion, and maybe fight parts of The Remnant after that with your Bragging Rights Reward of Bottomless Magazines.
- In the Metroid games, Samus has a penchant for blowing up the planet/space station you just spent hours exploring. Not so in Metroid: Other M, where she returns to the Bottle Ship to find the late Adam Malkovich's helmet, various missed items, and a Bonus Boss, among other things. The ship does explode, but only after Samus completes her errands and escapes alive.
- Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures: Once you win, you're free to walk around the entire game world, though mostly only two people have new lines to say. Marcus says simply "Well done, Indy!", while Bonifacio the tutorial man explains to you how to begin a new game.
- In the second LEGO Island game once you defeat the Brickster you get a seemingly fitting cutscene to end the game on- then you simply get to run around the Island. It's actually somewhat boring, though- all anybody says is to congratulate you for defeating the Brickster, you can travel to some of the other islands but all you can do on Castle Island is talk to players and you can't even get out of the desert on Adventurers' Island, let alone talk to anyone from that area, and the only real Easter Egg is just an unusual way of doing the credits.
- Ico allows the player to run along a stretch of beach after the game is finished to discover that Yorda survived the castle collapsing.
- Street Fighter EX3 lets you do this, mowing down Mooks with whomever you won the game with. One of the flunkies was a Hugo-esque bruiser who grew bigger every time you decked him. Although you are playing through the credits.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, after beating Tabuu, the player can proceed to unlock three more characters after finding them is certain stages that were previously completed.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny features one that you could unlock in Story Mode after beating the Final Boss and winning the 4 hopeless Final Boss Preview matches at least once. The epilogue is set a few years after the events of the game and features the player controlling Yuri, who is now living in Eltria with her Materials and the Florian sisters. The matches in this epilogue are a series of practice battles Yuri is having with the rest of the group, and serves as an And the Adventure Continues conclusion for the God Created Canon Foreigners of the game.
First Person Shooter
- In a non-RPG version, Call of Duty 4 features a playable epilogue set on a terrorist-hijacked plane in mid-flight. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the events in the game's story and is only accessible after watching the entire credits. The sequel, Modern Warfare 2, has a bonus mission set in the interactive museum that the credits play over. Do not press the button.
- The Marathon mod Rubicon had three playable epilogue levels. Two that reveals the historical effects of the players actions, and one where you revive Durandal after you just had killed him.
- In Halo: Reach, you get to play Noble Six's last stand. You face an infinite wave of Covenant on a planet that's being bombed from orbit, and the level always ends with your death. Only the assurance that you have Flung A Light Into The Future keeps the ending from being a downer.
- In Killer7, the seventh and final chapter (Target 06: Lion), serves this role, and has two highlights: The Sadistic Choice that determines the fate of the world, all determined in whether or not you kill Kenjiro Matsuoka or not. Then, the Post Final Boss afterwards with the Last Shot Smile, who has a completely unexplained identity, resembling two people.
- Banjo-Kazooie lets you play even after you've beaten Gruntilda, just in case you may have forgotten some notes or forgot to get the infamous Stop 'n' Swap eggs. You can even visit Gruntilda's (methaphoric, as she is stuck but still alive) grave and dance on it. Banjo-Tooie allows this as well.
- Once you finish the Final Boss in Super Mario Galaxy, you then get Purple comets, which makes more Stars to get. If you get all of these though, you still aren't finished. You can then play as Luigi. This lets you play through the whole game again, beating the final boss again, then getting all the stars again, which unlocks the Grand Finale Galaxy, which returns you to the Star Festival from the beginning of the game, and allows you to get one last star with each Mario brother and a congratulatory message from Nintendo.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 has an entire world (World S) playable after the final Bowser battle. And after collecting every single star (normal and green), the Grandmaster Galaxy is unlocked, having two new stars (and two of the hardest to get in the entire game, no less).
- Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! had a Playable Epilogue that unlocked the world Spyro was trying to get to in the first place—an amusement park full of mini-games that unlock the Cutscene Replay Theater. Spyro: Year of the Dragon had a Playable Epilogue for seeking 100% Completion after a The End... Or Is It? ending to the Final Boss, leading to the really-really final boss battle.
- The first Sonic Adventure lets you keep playing in each story after you've finished it, and the NPCs reflect that you've done so. There's not much reason to do this other than to raise your Chao, though, since you can only play the levels, not redo any story. In fact, the only way to start the story over again is to start a whole new game. Oddly, one of those playable characters is, well, kinda dead. Mission Mode in the remake version also seems to take place after the main story.
- Prince of Persia (2008) has a playable Downer Ending epilogue where you free Ahriman, the Big Bad you've just spent the entire game trying to stop, to bring Elika back to life. Confusingly, the Downloadable Content is called the Epilogue, but it's actually an Expansion Pack.
- Wario Land 4 has an odd aversion of this, the game sends you back to the main area, but the bosses have been revived while the areas are still cleared (and the end 'dungeon' sealed off until you beat the four bosses again). What's truly quite strange is that after seeing the ending, the game actually tells you this: 'If you continue with this saved data, every boss will be revived! Start over and try and get all twelve treasures! - Wario.'
- I Wanna Be the Guy, to a degree. After the credits and the ending sequence, the game decides to give you one more "screw you" moment. A piece of fruit starts falling, and you have to dodge it or die. In the epilogue.
- If you complete Demon's Crest with a 100% Completion, you're given a password after the credits. Enter it in, and you can continue the game with the Crest of Heaven Firebrand gained from Phalanx, as well as a new end boss.
- The Golden Temple in Donkey Kong Country Returns serves this role. More so in the 3DS version which has multiple levels instead of just one (Wii version). There's also Mirror Mode, but there the Golden Temple and every other level is unlocked de facto, thus averting this trope in that case.
- The NES Dragon Quest games are the Trope Maker here; from the very first game, in fact.
- Dragon Quest IX for the DS does this to a far greater extent than the first game, partially because you can save your game and continue to explore the world after defeating the final boss. After defeating said final boss, there are some loose ends to tie up, after which there's an almost endless variety of randomly generated grottoes to find and explore, extra sidequests to complete, things to make using the Alchemy Pot, a veritable army of Bonus Bosses and even a bit more backstory is revealed. Some dare say that the whole 40 hour+ main story is only the beginning of your adventures.
- In EarthBound, you can explore the world in its entirety after beating the final boss. Many NPCs in the game are given new and distinct dialogue, and for the first time since before Paula joined the party, you get to ride your bicycle after you take her home (even resulting in a completely new sound effect if you do so in a swamp).
- In several of the Pokémon games, especially the first, third, and sixth generations, defeating the Elite Four doesn't end the game at all. It usually just opens up a high-level challenge, like the Battle Tower/Frontier, and gives you a chance to work on getting the Pokémon your Pokédex lacks. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, it turns out to be sort of a fake ending: even though the credits roll, you have half of the game left. It turns out there's an entire region left to explore, one that should be very familiar to players of the original games or FireRed and LeafGreen and you need to get another eight badges to face the protagonist of the last game to get the real ending.
- Pokémon Black and White takes this even further. After you beat N and Ghetsis and the story has clearly ended, you still haven't even beaten the Elite Four and become Champion, which was your goal in the first place! Becoming Champion is your main goal to work for during the postgame sidequests. In addition, defeating the above allows you to explore the areas of Unova you probably noticed on your map but were blocked by literal Broken Bridges.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which take place two years after the above, the plot is pretty much tied up after you become champion, but on the other hand you get to visit areas from these games' predecessors that were blocked off until then, including the previous games' protagonists' hometown. (The reason they weren't visited before is because several post-game areas in the previous games are normal areas here, and vice versa.)
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, as well as Platinum, didn't have much in the way of new areas (mostly a small island with three small settlements), but there are several Pokémon to catch that weren't available previously, especially in the original duo of this generation.
- This has gotten to the point where the plot of the games sometimes feels more like a tutorial for the Wide Open Sandbox they become. Once you've unlocked the entire map, you can work in earnest on your Pokédex, win all the contests/musicals, breed Pokémon for the metagame...
- In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen you visit three new islands south of Kanto after defeating Blaine. The thing is, their name, Sevii Islands, clearly references the number seven. The reason for this? After defeating the Elite Four you go back to the three islands you visited before to tie up some loose ends, after which the other four are opened up. Pokémon originally found in Gold and Silver can be found here, which puts the National Pokédex you received before to good use.
- Dark Cloud 2 took the Playable Epilogue to its logical extreme, combining it with the Infinity+1 Sword for an entire extra chapter. And once that's completed you still have a Playable Epilogue. At the end you fight none other than the Dark Genie, who was the final boss of the first game.
- Tales of Legendia doesn't so much have a playable epilogue as a second half. The credits roll before you get there, though.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario have these. The first Paper Mario has one too, but only where it's a means to get you to the last cutscenes.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has a playable epilogue, though it is really just a disguised path to the unexpected Post-Climax Confrontation.
- Suikoden II has a Playable Epilogue of sorts; after beating the Final Boss, you're able to wander around the world freely (only without the ability to add anyone to your party). However, certain actions will still trigger one of the Multiple Endings, you can't add any more party members and you can't return to playing after that.
- Lunar: Eternal Blue has a playable epilogue that is rather long and completes the game with a happy ending.
- The remake of Lunar: The Silver Star also has a playable epilogue, though all you can really do is wander around Meribia and watch all the secondary characters wrap up their story arcs.
- The original four .hack games as well as the G.U. games have playable epilogues which let the player recruit bonus characters as well as play through a Bonus Dungeon for the epilogue. After you finish a volume you can keep playing even though the story won't proceed until you put in the next game. In fact it was recomended to grind items here when the games originally were coming out and there were months of this before the next Volume was released. However storywise once you loaded a previous save in the next game it would pick up right from where the story left off, even if you had a month of grinding, though you would keep all the items and levels.
- In the "canon" ending (and the ending when you keep Crono dead) for Chrono Trigger, you visit Leene Square one last time before the credits roll. The Developer's Room ending is also playable, but it doesn't really count. The ending in which Frog marries Queen Leene and becomes the new ancestor of Marle is playable as well.
- The Ultima games usually let you wander around and talk to people after beating the game, thus letting you see the aftereffects of your journey, much like in Earthbound. There's not much to accomplish at this point, though.
- Phantom Brave's playable epilogue pits the player against the main characters of Disgaea, plus a little extra background on the world itself.
- Persona 3 features one of these; although you're really doing little more than advancing the plot by this stage, you can still revisit the different parts of the city between the final battle and the actual end of the game. And in FES, you can talk to people you've established full relationships with to get an extra scene.
- Subverted in Persona 4: Take the right actions in what looks like the epilogue for the normal ending, and you'll get to another dungeon, the real final boss, and the True Ending.
- In Fallout 2, you get the obligatory "congratulations" round in most cities, and a free max level/skills item.
- It was originally averted in Fallout 3, leading to massive fan outcry. It wasn't until the Broken Steel expansion that the player was allowed to continue.
- Fallout: New Vegas averts it as every one of the Multiple Endings would drastically change the game world. All of the expansions are set before the game's ending. Post-game content was planned at some point, but abandoned because of how hard it would be to do properly.
- Knights of Xentar. No more monsters or quests, just new lines of dialogue for almost everyone.
- All the Might and Magic RPGs (except 2 and 3) let you wonder around the world and complete any unfinished side quests after you've beaten the main game; you can also save at any point after the ending. World of Xeen was a special subtype because after completing each of the two main quests (one for Clouds of Xeen, one for Darkside of Xeen) the game would save then send you back to the main menu. Restoring the game would then let you continue on to the next main quest.
- The Dark Sun games from SSI let you keep playing after completing the game. In the first game in particular you could revisit the villages who helped you in the final battle and they would all acknowledge your efforts.
- Fable and the expansion/upgrade The Lost Chapters lets you run around and finish up anything else you want once you beat Jack of Blades.
- Fable II promises that there are quests available only after defeating the Big Bad. These quests amount to very little: the only quest that's truly only available after finishing the story is exploring a castle to find a Gender Bender potion, as well as the option to finish any quest you haven't already done.
- Fable III was better in this regard, several quests only becoming available after you've driven off the Final Boss.
- Wasteland let you wander around after killing off the Big Bad. Then again, the world was still saved but crawling with dangerous creatures.
- While getting married in some Harvest Moon games will make the credits run, this is very rarely the end of the game. (If you're playing Harvest Moon: Back To Nature For Girl, it is.) In fact, there's quite a bit more to do after getting married, aside from eventually getting a child, there's new events to see, sometimes new villagers to befriend, 100% Completion to achieve—some items and events are even cut off from you until you get married.
- It also ends at marriage when you play as Sara in the third Game Boy game, and get married.
- In Harvest Moon DS, however, the game ends after marriage. Fortunately, it's only if you marry a Mineral Town girl. This was fixed in Cute, where marrying a Mineral Town boy doesn't end the game.
- The offshoot Rune Factory games also let you keep playing normally after the end of the main plot. In fact, Rune Factory 3 specifically included a Bonus Dungeon where you could put all of the powerful armor and weapons to use.
- Chocobo's Dungeon for the Wii lets you wander around the city and access several bonus dungeons after the final boss is defeated.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim let you keep going after you finish the main quest, often with a handful of added side quests that are only available once you beat the main quest and awarding you special items. The NPCs will often recognize you as the hero and react accordingly.
- Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia has one of these. After you start up your save file, you're promoted to the highest Ranger Rank (in honor of Saving the World and all that), and your rewards are access to your player records and the hidden Capture Arena, as well as additional sidequests.
- Disgaea 3 has more than half the game after you finish the story mode and defeat the final boss. And that's not counting the DLC. This is true to a lesser extent for Disgaea's 1 and 2 where you can do all the optional sidequests and endless grinding before you finish the game, but there's little point.
- At the end of Terranigma, Ark gets to go back to Crysta and relive the good old times with all his friends from there for one day before all of them cease to exist.
- "Heaven" in Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. The male version, A Wonderful Life, sadly lacks this.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance allows Marche and his party to continue to explore Ivalice after defeating the Final Boss, and some of the newly recruitable story characters will mention the absence of Mewt.
- The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series has these, especially adding some new missions that tie up loose ends (Such as in Rescue Team, explaining that Gengar was the human who got Gardevoir cursed by accident, and you have to bring him to Gardevoir's resting place in the hopes of bringing her back, and you can later visit the meteor that threatened the world, which contains Deoxys as a Bonus Boss), Explorers gives even more to the story, but darker and edgier. You find out that it was DARKRAI who set up the Evil Plan to destroy Temporal Tower and plunge the world into darkness, and he's the reason you and Grovyle got separated and you got transformed in the first place. The sister game, Explorers of Sky, adds Shaymin as a recruit should you finish the Sky's Peak. Gates To Infinity keeps it short but sweet, showing a few days of the team's life (Hydreigon and Keldeo now a part of it) during the hero's absence before they ultimately discover a way to bring them back.
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins has a brief moment after the final boss and subsequent cutscene where you get to walk around and speak to your party members and related NPC folk about what happened, ask them what they're going to do, and generally sort of fill out the epilogue before the final FINAL cutscene of the game. That is, of course, assuming that you didn't die killing the Archdemon, in which case it is a good ol' cutscene (with a lot of variations, depending on your earlier choices).
- Dragon Age II does a variation similar to Mass Effect 2: after the credits, you will find a "Post-Game Save" among your saved games, which contains the state of your party immediately after the Final Battle. If you load it, you'll find that the regular locations from the game have become unavailable and you can only access the Hawke mansion and the DLC content (which was probably the whole point of this).
- Dragon Age: Inquisition lets you continue to explore the world after the main story; the biggest difference is that Solas leaves no matter what.
- SaGa Frontier was speculated to have an extreme example in Blue's storyline. When you beat the final boss in his quest the game ... fades to the title screen. There is no epilogue, no ending theme, no "a winner is you," nothing. This caused many confused fans to theorize what happened. Since the whole purpose of Blue's quest was to master magic and defeat his brother, and since you were shown the credits after doing so, a popular fan theory was that everything that happened after you defeated your brother was an interactive ending. Developers later admitted they simply ran out of time and money, and described the ending Blue's campaign would have had if they finished it.
- In Dragon Ball Z The Legacy of Goku II and Buu's Fury, once you defeat Cell/Kid Buu you can continue playing for as long as you like before speaking to Dende/going to Bulma's party to activate the final cutscenes. In fact, in the former game, it's only in the Playable Epilogue that you can unlock the Secret Joke Character Hercule, which allows you to choose an alternate ending cutscene if you max out his level; in the latter, Gogeta can be unlocked during the epilogue.
- Grandia II had an epilogue where you took control of Roan who, some time after the Final Battle, goes King Incognito again to visit his friends now living all across the land.
- Sword of Vermilion had a minor one. After defeating the Final Boss and obtaining the last of the Plot Coupons, there are no more Random Encounters and you can freely visit all towns and talk with the NPCs, which complimented you with your achievements. But there is little else left to do except taking the Plot Coupons to their rightful place and watching the credits roll.
- Fossil Fighters gives you access to a huge number of new things after beating the main game. Not only do you gain access to two new areas (which you will need to visit in order to find every viviosaur), nearly every storyline character you've fought throughout the entire game becomes a Bonus Boss! Beating these lets you earn access to previously ungettable 'saurs, and you can even face the ultimate Bonus Boss, consisting of the three most powerful characters in the game.
- Every single game in the Mega Man Battle Network series bar the sixth game has these, usually revolving around fighting the extraordinarily powerful Navis that reside in the Undernet. You may get a few glimpses of them in the main storyline, particularly in Battle Network 3.
- Tales of Graces F has a playable epilogue 3/4 the size of the main game.
- All three Golden Sun games end with you in the last town in the game (Lalivero in the first, Prox in the second, and Belinsk in the third). Though you can't leave, the towns are all still fully explorable and most of the NPCs have new dialog reflecting on the events of the game. In the first game, it was actually possible to get stuck by saving here, trapping the player in Lalivero and preventing them from completing any sidequests or locating Djinn they may have missed. The sequels fixed this by making it impossible to save the game after beating the Final Boss.
- Used in the first Baten Kaitos; Malpercio has been vanquished, The islands have descended upon Earth(?) And you fight a Post Final Boss in the form of The Emperor.
- The first 40 chapters of The Last Story are the main campaign, while chapters 41 to 44 are the epilogue. And outside the chapters' stages, there's the possibility to play (most) previously completed dungeons, as well as some unique events like a Bonus Boss duel with Therius and the third and last battle royale in the Arena. It's also one of the few games to combine this with a New Game+, because talking to a specific character proceeds straight to a memorial for Dagran and Zael's knighting ceremony (after which the credits roll).
- The "Reaper of Souls" expansion to Diablo III adds this in the form of Adventure Mode, to replace the original game's New Game+.
- Once you beat the Final Boss in DemiKids, you're actually given ''three' different options, letting you proceed with a Playable Epilogue, go back a little bit in time to an Endgame Plus, or starting all over again with all of your things intact in a New Game+. The Playable Epilogue can be considered the "real" ending: In addition to bringing all your deceased friends Back from the Dead, it lets you recruit a whole host of Olympus Mons, including Lucifer, the Big Good himself.
- The ending of Aveyond 2 gives Ean the option of returning to his elven home, or remain in the world of humans to travel around with Rye. If he picks the latter, the game would continue on indefinitely.
- Rule of Rose features a very elaborate one, where you play as child Jennifer, walking around the orphanage to say farewell to the precious memories she had about the place despite of all the bad that happened. It culminates the storyline masterfully and provides some of the strongest Tear Jerker fuel in video game history.
Third Person Shooter
- MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries allows the player to take on random missions even after completing the last campaign, keeping all of the assets they have acquired.
- Mass Effect:
- Mass Effect 1 lacked this, meaning that if you play the two games back to back, you go directly from Saving the Entire Universe to the destruction of the Normandy and your character's death by asphyxiation (with kersplat from high orbit thrown in gratis).
- Mass Effect 2 allows you to continue playing after you complete the final mission. You can talk to your surviving party members about your endgame decisions, continue to mine ore, complete any sidequests you have left over, or just explore for any anomalies you missed. Any DLC you did not complete is also still available.
- The ability to complete sidequests and the DLC's with Mass Effect 2 leads to the Hilarious in Hindsight moments where the Illusive Man helpfully points you toward these missions after you've quite possibly destroyed the Collector Base he wanted, transferred the loyalty of the Cerberus crew of the Normandy 2 from Cerberus to you, made one his his senior lieutenants quit Cerberus to also join you, have basically stolen the massive investment that was the Normandy 2, (which EDI reveals makes up a rather significant chunk of Cerberus personnel and capacity), and probably told him to go fuck himself. The only DLC that doesn't fall into this is "Arrival," which has you working on behalf of Admiral Hackett instead.
- A variant of this happens in Red Dead Redemption. After John Marston dies and the "final cutscene" plays, you will have control over Jack Marston, and you can continue on in freeplay mode. However, the end credits won't play until you head to Blackwater, talk to a random bystander and complete the "Remember My Family" mission, where Jack finds and kills former Blackwater Agent Edgar Ross - achieving his revenge.
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, a What Could Have Been DLC, plays this trope; following the credits, the non-DLC normal story ending comes about (wherein John is killed), only with the twist that Seth steals the treasure that caused the dead to rise before when taken, thus bringing the dead (including John) back to life, allowing the player to finish side quests and to free roam.
- Spec Ops: The Line has one that is only unlocked by shooting the Konrad hallucination. A rescue squad shows up for Walker, but what the player does from that point will result in 3 different endings. Shooting the guy trying to help you will result in the entire squad opening fire. Dying in the confrontation will yield a Downer Ending, taking down the entire squad will yield a horrifying ending. Dropping your weapon however, will yield what is at best, a Bittersweet Ending. It's quite the understatement to say that the game doesn't end happily.
Stealth Based Games
Wide Open Sandbox
- The Grand Theft Auto games featured this, especially the GTA 3 story arc games. In San Andreas, CJ even mentions he just wants to go around. This is useful for those who are looking for 100% Completion and figure the first step is to finish those annoying storyline missions...or for those who just like the game for its more cathartic qualities. Also, beating the last storyline missions ends the riots in Los Santos, which was a state of the world a lot of players really ENJOYED, so they would leave the last mission unfinished rather than blemish their completion rating (prior to 100%) by using a cheat code to achieve the same result or save to a different file.
- Just Cause 2 calls it Mercenary Mode. Not much really changes after you finish the last story mission, except that each time you load the game or respawn, it shows MERCENARY MODE in big red lettering, and whenever you find an item, complete a challenge or mission or destroy a piece of government property it shows your increasing completion percentage.
- All of the Saints Row games let you play after the credits roll, but Saints Row 2 has one last mission for the player to pursue after the credits: unraveling the mystery of who tried to kill you in the yacht explosion from the end of the previous game.