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[[quoteright:320:[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kh2-noreturn_6389.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:Be thankful. Some games aren't this nice.]]

->''"Once you enter this portal, my analysis indicates a 0% chance that you will be able to return, unless you are able to vanquish your foe. Are you ready to proceed?"''
-->-- '''Fi''', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''

A place in the story of a video game where it permanently becomes impossible to revisit earlier areas. Any optional sidequests or items (e.g. the InfinityPlusOneSword) are effectively [[PermanentlyMissableContent lost permanently]] from here on out.

This often happens near the game's finale, such as before entering TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon or just before challenging the FinalBoss. You may even hear the narrator or another character warn you that "there is no going back" or "ThisIsTheFinalBattle".

There may or may not be {{Save Point}}s, {{Trauma Inn}}s, or item shops past the Point of No Return. If there aren't, crossing this point without sufficient resources (health, ammo, etc.) to survive the challenges ahead can result in the game becoming {{Unwinnable}} -- ''especially'' if there's a SavePoint beyond it, but no means to heal or restock supplies.

The Point Of No Return comes in multiple flavors which basically correlate to points on Zarf's Cruelty Scale of Interactive Fiction (see UnwinnableByDesign):

* '''Merciful''': The game has no concept of [[ReplayValue side quests, hidden items, or leveling up]], so there is no way to enter the point of no return until you have everything you need/want.
* '''Strict''': The game will prevent you from saving past the point of no return (by disabling the save-anywhere option, turning off auto-saves, [=and/or=] [[CheckPointStarvation denying save points]] from here on out), so that if you have to restart for any reason, it will be from a safe location where turning back is possible. Alternately, loading a save made after the point of no return will let you (or force you to) rewind to the moment before you passed it.
* '''Polite''': [[OminousSavePrompt The game warns you that the point of no return is ahead]]. You are encouraged to save the game before heading out, and to keep that slot preserved in case you need to go back. (If you neglect this advice, you will put yourself in either a Tough or Nasty situation depending on the game).
* '''Tough''': You're playing through the game, and save your file as normal. Then you decide to go back to check something out, only to find that you've unwittingly passed the point of no return, possibly leaving your best items and equipment behind. However, there is a shop and the enemies here drop gold, so you can [[LevelGrinding grind]] what you need to finish the game.
* '''Nasty''': Same as Tough, but there is no useful grinding opportunity and you have to win with whatever you brought with you. If you left your good stuff at home, then you'll either have to fight a much harder endgame than you should, or start ''all over again''.
* '''Cruel''': Same as Nasty except there is no hint at all, even for veteran players (e.g. you don't appear to be heading toward the final battle at all), and/or the game only lets you save to one file, and perhaps even [[TrollingCreator encourages you to save]] after you've passed the (hidden) point.

Another dimension to this trope is whether there is a PlayableEpilogue or EndgamePlus that lets you go back to the rest of the world again after you finish the game. Even if you can, it's cold comfort if you're trapped in the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon with no way to go back or finish it.

Games that ''regularly'' prevent you from returning to earlier completed areas are [[GameLevel another trope entirely]], although freeform or [[MetroidVania ability-based]] level exploration may blur the line. See also PlotTunnel, which occurs mid-game and cuts off all the plot-irrelevant levels ''temporarily'', until the current story arc is cleared. Often the Point is marked by a DoorOfDoom and/or announced by an OminousSavePrompt.

This trope comes from the term used in air travel where after a certain point it becomes impossible to turn around and return to the point of origin (for example, not enough fuel); even if there is a sudden emergency, the plane ''must'' continue towards its destination.

Compare InescapableAmbush.

Warning! Expect unmarked spoilers ahead!
!!VideoGame Examples:


* ''Franchise/BatmanArkhamSeries''
** [[spoiler:Protocol 10's initiation]] in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' renders world-exploration [[PlotTunnel highly difficult]] [[TakeYourTime (but not impossible)]], but returning to the base of Wonder Tower locks you into the story for the rest of the game. There is NewGamePlus and the ability to do post-story side missions and collect Riddler trophies.
** Going after [[spoiler:Firefly]] in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'' locks you into the endgame, as straight after you've defeated him, you automatically go to the Batcave, then straight to [[spoiler:Blackgate prison]] for the last part of the story. As always though, you stay in Gotham after the story is finished, allowing for side missions to be done and Enigma Data Packets to be collected. Again, there is also a NewGamePlus.
** ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight'':
*** Due to its non choice-based MultipleEndings, the game makes a variation. Like ''City'', there is an event that renders exploration almost impossible (even more so in the case of ''Knight'', as [[spoiler:the Cloudburst covers the streets of Gotham, preventing you from entering buildings at all]]) acting as a PlotTunnel. However, the game continues far beyond this event (with side missions and exploration capability resuming) and after the main story ends, like the previous games, one may explore the city as freely as they want in the main story and NewGamePlus is unlocked. However, due to the ending of the game, the facts that [[spoiler:Batman is no longer hallucinating Joker]] and [[spoiler:the world knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman]] affect EnemyChatter and indeed the sequences available when you defeat or hear from certain side mission villains, acting almost as ExtendedGameplay.
*** The player must finish several more side missions before unlocking the second ending, where [[spoiler:Batman and Alfred activate the Knightfall protocol and blow up Wayne Manor, with them seemingly inside.]] There is no Point Of No Return indication and would usually be a cruel example, but immediately after the credits, the game drops you right back into Gotham City. Characters do not react to the second ending, so it is assumed that this part of the game is a flashback to before the second ending.
* The General Ross boss battle in ''VideoGame/TheIncredibleHulkUltimateDestruction'' is one, for you will be thrown immediately into the next two story missions with no chance to freeroam in-between until you complete them since they involve [[spoiler:the Hulk breaking out of the Vault and escaping his captors]].
* The first ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' has a point near the end where the voice of Athena tells you that once you will not be able to return until you have gotten what you came for. This is a Merciful rather than a Polite example though, as even once you come back to where you started, you cannot go back to get stuff you missed.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'':
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake'', retrieving the Oilex Cartridge from the locker in Dr. Marv's cell. Once Snake leaves the locker with cartridge in hand, a trap door will open up under him, and its a one-way trip to the basement where Metal Gear is being stored.
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', inputting the final PAL card. [[spoiler:This activates Metal Gear REX, and after escaping the PAL control room, the player will run into [[BigBad Liquid Snake]] immediately, starting the endgame.]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 2|SonsOfLiberty}}''. Entering the holds for the Tanker chapter (which starts the speech about the target Snake is trying to get photos of). Rescuing Emma in the Plant chapter (upon finding her, Raiden is required to escort her back, and after this particular mission, a series of cut-scenes begins that [[spoiler:destroys the Big Shell plant and takes Philanthropy deep into Arsenal Gear for the final stages of the story]]).
** ''VideoGame/{{Metal Gear Solid 3|SnakeEater}}'' has several Points of No Return. First, after the duel with Ocelot at the crevice, the cutscene has Snake sliding down into a cave that he can't climb back up from. Later, after you defeat The End and climb that huge ladder to the mountains, Snake slides down a slope that is ''just'' too steep to climb back up. Later still, the [[spoiler:two trips to Groznyj Grad are both Points of No Return, as is retrieving Sokolov and confronting Volgin at the Shagohod maintenance room. And if you miss getting the RPG in the mountain base before defeating The Fury, you can't go back for it; fortunately, EVA will provide one for you when you need it for the Shagohod fight]].
* Entering to the final stage in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'' triggers this instantly. The trope is averted in the first game because, even after beating the intended last level, you can return to Santa Destroy and choose to play the epilogue battle whenever you feel ready. Since there's no epilogue in the second game, the trope is played straight, so it won't be possible to return to the other places until the NewGamePlus.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowsOfTheDamned'' is '''Tough'''. If you miss a red gem anywhere- oops, you can't go back and get it. Red gems are your only source of upgrading your stats and the Points of no return are hard to determine. Most damning, there is no NewGamePlus, so if you miss one, you miss it for the entire save file. However, the upgrades are not necessary and the shop usually has some if you need them.
* The ''[[VideoGame/HarryPotter Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]]'' game has an example best described as '''Cruel'''. When you enter the Chamber of Secrets, there's no way to go back, and you'll need a lot of potions in order to make it through, which can only be brewed before you enter the chamber. What makes it Cruel? The game ''auto-saves'' after you enter.

* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'' has several of these. Once you enter the Labyrinth, the Land of the Dead, or the Castle of the Crown, you have to complete the respective sub-quest (or in the case of the Castle, the game). Worse, there are several points of no return within the Land of the Dead itself, so several things are easily lost for good if you don't get them before you move on.
* In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'' you must ride a sled over an ice chasm. The sled is very old, so it shatters on impact. You're stuck on the far ledge, so if you [[GuideDangIt forgot something]] you're gonna have to revert to an older save file. That's hardly the only one, though. The desert cave is a point of no return too (you can only enter once), as is the Forest of Doom at the beginning, and the Ice Castle, and the beach after the giant bird, and the harpy island, and the final island, and the dungeon maze on the final island. Of course, most of these require you to have obscure items from earlier parts of the game.
* The 1997 ''VideoGame/BladeRunner'' video game has quite a few of these, generally at the end of each act.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'':
** ''VideoGame/MetroidIIReturnOfSamus'' requires you to return straight to your ship after defeating the Queen Metroid. No backtracking for power-ups.
*** Breaking into the Queen Metroid's chamber is still this in ''VideoGame/MetroidSamusReturns'', but not for the same reasons. Unlike the original game, you can still backtrack through SR388 even after you've acquired the baby Metroid. In fact, you're required to for 100% completion, as the baby Metroid's ability to eat rock crystals is needed to access certain items. [[spoiler:Instead, you can no longer use your gunship to heal/save as you could before, as going there triggers the final battle with Proteus Ridley.]]
** ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'' has two cases: The first Point of No Return is right after entering Tourian, as using the first save point found here (which is coincidentally placed right next to the elevator) and reloading will make the elevator disappear; then there's the final save point in the game,[[spoiler: located right before the final boss, and after dealing with the baby metroid]] - if you use it the door leading back turns grey, so if you're aiming for OneHundredPercentCompletion, don't have that yet, and use those save points anyway...
** ''VideoGame/MetroidFusion'' has your ship's AI lock almost the entire space station down when it's time to fight the final boss. This is incredibly annoying for players trying to achieve OneHundredPercentCompletion, especially since you had little advance warning. Luckily, the game plays it fair by allowing you full access to the station again if you reload once you've defeated the boss.
** ''VideoGame/MetroidZeroMission'' subverts this. At first it appears that Samus cannot get back to Brinstar and its surrounding areas after crash-landing in Chozodia. However, she ''can'' get back by [[spoiler:using a Power Bomb on the glass tube connecting the Mother Ship with Chozo Ruins.]]
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'' does this before TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon. Its method of forcing this on you is rather unique though: [[spoiler:ostensibly you could leave if you wanted, if not for the fact that mutagenic radiation on-site has corrupted your DNA so badly that your spaceship doesn't recognize you or even let you onboard anymore, so you're stuck until you take care of the problem.]]
-->'''AU 242''': Take heed, Samus. Once you join the fleet and the wormhole to Phaaze is opened, there is no turning back. Please be sure to prepare yourself. We wish you the best of luck.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', before the boss gauntlet, Issun literally tells you you're about to step into "the point of no return", with that exact phrasing. There's a save point ''beyond'' the final and literal point of no return. If you save there and don't have a backup save that's outside of the area, you're trapped in the final dungeon until you begin a NewGamePlus.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'', the Point of No Return is [[spoiler: falling through the trap door in the Moon Cave 100 years in the past.]]
* Your acquisition of the Krazoa Spirit in the Walled City shrine in ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' is a Nasty point of no return, as [[GuideDangIt you only find this out]] when trying to go back to the planet takes you to Krazoa Palace, and the only thing left to do after that is beat the FinalBoss. If you didn't know about that and saved after the point, you're boned.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'' has one of these, and frustratingly doesn't let you know until after you've entered the door.
** ''Hordes of the Underdark'' has several. Among other things, in chapter 3, you're given five quests, but the BigBad attacks after you've completed any four, with barely any forewarning. What, were you hoping to complete the fifth quest? Too bad.
** ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' seals some, but not all, areas during the transition from Act I to Act II, and likewise from Act II to Act III. In Act III, speaking to Nevalle to trigger [[spoiler:the siege of Crossroad Keep]] propels the player into the endgame sequence.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** The Ganondorf battle in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]''. If you save here, there's no going back, as it immediately restarts at the cutscene when you reload. Later releases of the game, from version 1.2 onwards,[[note]]which includes later Nintendo 64 cartridge versions, ''Master Quest'', ''Collector's Edition'', Virtual Console and the VideoGameRemake for [=3DS=][[/note]] prevented that problem by restarting at the entrance of Ganon's Tower regardless of where and when you save.
** Subverted in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass''. After completing the 13 floors of the dungeon, you cross a bridge which crumbles behind you. Your fairy, Celia, says you can't go back now, and then a portal to the start of the dungeon opens up.
** As quoted above in the page quote, Link's companion in ''Skyward Sword'' will warn the player that there is a *zero percent chance* that they will return from the final boss arena unless they are able to vanquish said final boss. Like other examples in the series, this game is also very nice about its usage of Point of No Return.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'', after entering the [[FinalBoss Sanctum of Hyrule Castle]] you can neither leave nor save.
* ''VideoGame/LittleBigAdventure 2'': After landing on Zeelich for the second time, there's no way of going back to Twinsun.
* The [[LightAndMirrorsPuzzle mirror chamber]] in the final dungeon from ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' is a fairly innocuous-looking Point Of No Return; although you theoretically ''could'' leave, Double H will refuse to help you do so "until you complete your mission." When you [[spoiler:rescue Pey'j during the mission]], your spaceship malfunctions and you're stuck on Selene forever; presumably so the programmers didn't have to program reactions for every possible scenario involving [[spoiler:your sidekicks that would incorporate both of them]].
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', on the way to the last colossus, [[spoiler:Wander's horse falls into a ravine]], stranding you on one side of a gap.
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'':
** In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', at the start of the final Sequence you are given the option to go to Rome to [[spoiler:hunt down Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI]]. Once you accept, you cannot return to the rest of Italy until you complete it.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' is more insidious; after a certain point in the first Memory of Sequence Eight, the game locks you into accepting Memory 8-2. You get one easily-overlooked chance to back out before accepting 8-3, which puts you on a roller-coaster ride straight to the end of Sequence Nine with no further option of declining missions and resuming free-roam. Then comes [[spoiler: finding the Apple under the Colosseum]] and the... nasty fracas that ensues. When you finally get back to free-roaming, while other sidequests are still open, [[spoiler: you cannot exit the Animus to Monteriggioni any more.]]
** Subverted in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations'' though; while the Animus Island [[spoiler: dismantles near the end]], watching the credits will [[spoiler: allow the Animus Island to rebuild itself,]] so you could play as Desmond in those platforming puzzles for as long as you like after you beat the game.
** Finding the key in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' kicks you back to the real world, where you are forced to [[spoiler:activate the planet shield in return for Desmond's death and [[SealedEvilInACan releasing Juno]] into the world]]. However, after credits and Connor's epilogue, you can continue to roam the Frontier and the cities again, but you can't exit the Animus. In fact, at this point, you can play mini-games that require finding certain "pivot points" in the game world that are, essentially, cheats. Finding those is not easy and requires a lot of ground-pounding, especially since [[spoiler:pivot points are placed by other players doing the same thing as you]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Primordia}}'':
** At the end of the first segment, once Horatio and Crispin enter the train station, the train to Metropol arrives immediately, and the AdventureDuo refuses to go back to the Dunes out of fear that they'll lose their only chance to reach the city. Fortunately, the only consequence is missing an opportunity to get a couple of achievements.
** At the very end of the game, after the confrontation with [=MetroMind=] at the Central Station, all of the robots in the streets are gone, and so are several character-related achievements. Once you re-enter the Council Chambers, you are not even allowed to go back to the city, so the only thing that is left is to choose one of the MultipleEndings. Potentially, you can miss a chance to [[spoiler:restore Crispin]] if you haven't picked up the matrix back at the Central Station, but, notably, it's impossible to get locked out of the "good" ending, because [[spoiler:Clarity -- or what's left of her --]] is right there in the last room.
* Near the end of ''VideoGame/TheJourneymanProject 2: Buried In Time'', [[spoiler: Agent 3 abducts you and takes away your Jump Biochip, the only thing that allows you to go anywhere in time. Even if you allow [[RobotBuddy Arthur]] to mess up her plans, you can't get it back.]]
* Entering the subway tunnels in ''VideoGame/BeneathASteelSky'' serves as this, after which the only way forward is towards LINC's core. If cutting through an air vent that's too high on the other side wasn't enough, a tunnel further down caves in and blocks the way back.
* In ''VideoGame/RexNebularAndTheCosmicGenderBender'', the flooding of the city which you've been exploring is understandably a point of no return. Depending of difficulty level, the game would warn you of this. On the ''easiest'' level the game literally would not allow you to proceed if you didn't have all the necessary items. Ironically, this led to a game breaking bug, since it was possible to have lost one of the necessary items by having already used it for its intended purpose.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOriginsBlackgate''. There's one immediately before going to the Lighthouse for the final battle with [[spoiler:Catwoman]]. The game warns you about this if you try to go to the lighthouse. However, once the fight is over you have two options: NewGamePlus- which allows you to replay the game with all costume pieces and detective clues carried over- or Continue, which takes you to your save just before the final boss fight.
* ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'' on the Nintendo 64 has a Nasty bordering on Cruel example. Once you go to Mount Olympus, you cannot return to the main world where you've spent the rest of the game. If you save on Mount Olympus, you're stuck. What pushes this example up the cruelty scale is that you cannot buy potions (the game's ''only'' power-ups) on Mount Olympus, so if the final boss whoops your ass (he probably will) and you don't have any potions, your only option is to practice until you defeat Ares on your own. ''You are given no warnings of any kind about any of this.'' And because Mount Olympus has several puzzles and a penultimate boss fight, only a masochist ''wouldn't'' save and trap themselves before facing Ares, even if you've played the game before and you know there's no going back.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SuperBomberman Super Bomberman 3]]'', after beating the boss of the fifth planet, you are unable to return to any previous levels and forced to proceed into the final level. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] since the BigBad shows up and aims the five cannons of his huge space fortress into the planets.
* In ''VideoGame/TheDogIsland'', once you decide to go to the Anc World, there's no turning back. [[FairyCompanion Petasi]] is Polite enough to warn you that you won't be able to leave once you get there, though. Strangely enough, there are [[AndYourRewardIsClothes accessories]] that can only be found in the Anc World and the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon after it, which might tempt some people to save there.

[[folder:Alternate Reality]]
* ''VideoGame/PlaystationHome'' had a hub in the list called "Xi Museum", which was essentially the ending point of the "Xi Virtual Reality game" run back in 2009. Players were allowed to wander around, play games, talk with people, visit random areas, and try and solve the game's puzzles. When the player reached the monolith, however, they were given the choice to choose to break it or activate it, or not do anything. Choosing to break or activate it meant that you would never be allowed to do any of the listed actions ever again, forfeiting your world of Xi for awards and a cinematic involving Jesse. Not breaking it however led to the player never getting any awards, and when the virtual reality game was removed, the player was forced to leave anyway.

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/FarCry'':
** ''VideoGame/FarCry2'' has a particularly evil point of no return. The final mission briefing requires you to enter a prison to get your objectives. After you accept the final mission and carry on with the game, it warns you that you can't turn back if you go any further and to make sure you have everything you need, however if you try to go back, you'll find you can't leave the prison.
** ''VideoGame/FarCry3'' features a Polite one near the end of the story. Just before the [[spoiler:mission to assassinate [[GreaterScopeVillain Hoyt]] while playing poker with him,]] your NPC buddy Sam informs you that this is the beginning of the end, and that you should do anything else before this. There is post-story freeroam, though.
* The Little Sister EscortMission in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' is a completely unmarked point of no return and you're not told this until after you're given [[LetsFightLikeGentlemen health and ammo refills.]]
* ''Videogame/Left4Dead'' has very few of these, which aren't really anything major unless you miss a health kit or the like. If someone gets incapacitated and everyone else has moved on beyond the point of no return, the helpless player can do nothing but bleed to death. The sequel adds many more points of no return, making these a strategy for infected players to use in VS mode.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'':
** The main game is ''Merciful''. It tells you whenever you are about to leave an area for good and informs you that any side quests will be cancelled. It also stores your last '''two''' auto-saves in the load menu. And save slots which the game orders from most recent to oldest. Amount of said slots varies on your system.
** The DLC, ''The Missing Link'' borders on cruel. There are about three spots that, when you pass, you can't return. It makes sense from a mechanical perspective, but there is very little to indicate that these areas are checkpoints. So, woe upon you if you wait to get some more augmentations before you try one of the achievements.
* ''VideoGame/QuakeII'' allowed you to move freely between levels in one of the several "units" (hubs) making up the bulk of the game, but once you passed through the exit of a unit you could not return (and the first time the game would warn you about this). Also, the teleporter in the Upper Palace was a more definitive Point Of No Return--once you passed through it you went to the final boss arena on Stroggos' moon and could never come back. Unlike in earlier Creator/IdSoftware shooters, this can be a problem because you could stockpile items for use later instead of using them the moment you picked them up.
* ''VideoGame/{{Wolfenstein 2009}}'' places an arms dealer almost within sight of the point where you infiltrate the zeppelin, and helpfully informs you that this will be the last time you'll be able to buy upgrades or ammo.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock2'''s Point of No Return is when the player enters the Body of the Many. Before that, the game is 100% backtrack-friendly; if you want, you can walk away from the entrance to the Body of the Many, all the way back to the start of the game.
* Once the player reaches the prison in ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'', they are unable to leave, making any weapons and side quests they may have missed permanently inaccessible. The same thing happens in ''Riptide'' once you reach the boat. Thankfully, the game warns you about this on both occasions.
* In ''Videogame/{{Postal}} 2'' and the ExpansionPack, the Postal Dude cannot explore the town further after completing the last chore of each day, as leaving the current area triggers a cutscene and the start of the next day. While it's generally not too big of an issue, there are certain hidden weapons and supplies that spawn only on certain days of the week.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Turok}}'' for the Nintendo 64, once you enter Level 8, The Final Confrontation, you cannot ever return to the Hub Ruins, meaning you will have missed out on the Chronoscepter if you start Level 8 without the other 7 pieces, and this will make the FinalBoss fight against The Campaigner MUCH, MUCH more difficult.

* ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' has an Autosave of No Return ([[LampshadeHanging that's what an in-game prompt actually calls it]]) near the end of the game immediately after you [[spoiler:free Lili.]] Luckily, it's saved as a separate file, just in case you weren't totally ready [[spoiler:to sneeze your own brain out and enter a creepy mishmash of yours and the bad guy's childhood fears]]. Though you can't go back to the real world, you can still go to other mental worlds through the Collective Unconscious, and combine PSI Cores with PSI Cards in the final level.
* The final level of ''VideoGame/RatchetDeadlocked'' involves a Point Of No Return when you attempt to infiltrate the heart of [=DreadZone=] Station to confront [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Gleeman Vox]] once and for all. Once you leave you won't be able to use [=DreadZone=] as your base of operations anymore, not to mention that pesky detail that [[spoiler:the entire place explodes because Gleeman laced it with [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale 'six gigatons of nitroglycerin']]]]. This is the "No more save points" variety since you still get a weapons vendor right at the very start (and after you defeat Vox, you get to either start a NewGamePlus or go right back to just before you left), but you can still get "stuck" here if you didn't grind enough earlier to max out your weapons/ammo/nano. The only other way is to reset the console.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** In the platforming games, getting close to the end of a level limits the camera scrolling to that area, making the player unable to backtrack. ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' used a sign before the goal posts to mark the point in which this happens.
** In ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'', Chip warns you that once you go into [[spoiler:Eggmanland]], the only level of the game that doesn't have a hub your first time going there, you aren't coming out for a while. ''He's right''.
* ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia'' games are built around this design in order to be linear. Doors will close behind you and lock, walls will crumble and block a pathway behind you, or you descend slopes or walls that are too sleep to climb back up again. [[GuideDangIt Make sure you don't miss anything!]]
* ''Impossamole'' (the TurboGrafx16 version) is particularly egregious; in addition to physical barriers preventing you from backtracking to get a Scroll that you missed, there are also Checkpoints of No Return, so the level becomes {{Unwinnable}} until you lose all your lives and restart.
* When you go to Tomorrow City for the second time in ''VideoGame/EpicMickey'', you can't go back to [[HubLevel Mean Street]]. Also, you only get to climb Mickeyjunk Mountain once, the next time you go there, it'll be a different part of it.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Tomba}} 2'', once you enter the door with the final pig gate, time will freeze and you can only do the main story. Thankfully, Kainen warns you of this before you enter the door.
* ''VideoGame/CaveStory'' has the BossRush; once this is started it must be finished, and once finished you only have the option of going on to the Normal ending or (if you completed the two sidequests) trying your luck at the BrutalBonusLevel to get the GoldenEnding. There's also a save point after this, which if you save there you're completely stuck.
* In ''VideoGame/Jak3Wastelander'', you reach the Point of No Return when you meet up with Damas [[spoiler: in the ruins, shortly before he dies]]. Though once you reach the final boss, you will be allowed to re-enter Spargus City, as well as take the nearby vessel back to Haven City. The game does not warn you when you cross it.
* Killing all guards in the entrance of the Federal Reserve Bank in ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' during the final chapter (Heist) triggers this. The reason is because, once all of them die, Conker and Berri will take an elevator to go to an upper floor, and from there they will only be able to proceed forward.
* The early ''VideoGame/MegaManClassic'' games would either not allow you to return to levels you've cleared, or lock you out of returning to past levels once all the robot masters have been beaten. ''Mega Man 1'' used the latter (which could make the game {{Unwinnable}} if you didn't get the Magnet Beam before beating the last Robot Master,) ''2'' and ''3'' used the former, and ''4'' would let you return to levels even if you beat all the Robot Masters, but once you select Dr. Cossack on the level select screen there's no turning back.
* ''VideoGame/OriAndTheBlindForest'' has a Polite point of no return when entering Mount Horu, TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon. The dungeon areas also have Tough points of no return once you begin their {{escape sequence}}s, and [[OneTimeDungeon you can't go back to get any items you missed afterwards.]] This was removed in the [[UpdatedRerelease Definitive Edition]], and you are free to backtrack anywhere at any time, except during escape sequences.
* In ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen Episode VI'', although there is a portal in the last room, it only leads back to the second room; the first room is forever inaccessible once you leave it. Better make sure you grab the blue gem key before you do that.

[[folder:Puzzle Game]]
* In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheAzranLegacy'', the point of no return is Bronev's office at the top of Targent's HQ. However, the game is Polite about it, as it explicitly warns you that you won't be able to travel wherever you want anymore after that point. [[spoiler:It's eventually subverted when you beat the game, after which you can exit the last room of the Azran Sanctuary and explore the world at your own leisure again, complete with Emmy, Sycamore and Aurora in your party.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest'', once you enter the Attic, there's no going back down.

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* A mild example of a "tough" Point Of No Return in ''VideoGame/EvilGenius''. One of the secondary objectives involves gathering four pieces of a totem, each of which has a a negative effect on nearby minions. However, if you get them all and put them near each other, they will combine into one totem with a strong positive effect. The problem (or a bug) is that the pieces will combine only on your first island. While the game doesn't force you to move to the second island until you're ready (although you still have to do it to continue the main storyline), it doesn't warn you about the totem thing either, which means you get stuck with four negative loots that can only be negated by putting them into a freezer (or if you get them stolen by burglars).
* The invasion of Char in ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIWingsOfLiberty'' is a Polite version, with both in-character and out-of-character warnings from the game that once you begin the invasion, you will not be able to return to other missions. However, all of your secondary options (upgrading your troops in the Armory, conducting research, hiring mercenaries) continue to be available while on Char. In the expansion, ''[[VideoGame/StarCraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm Heart of the Swarm]]'', the campaign is Merciful; the same rules apply, except that you can't start the invasion of Korhal without completing each of the previous mission worlds.

[[folder:Role Playing Game]]
* Before going into the [=DXI=] ruins in ''VideoGame/TheNamelessMod'' your MissionControl will let you know that exploring the ruins will take some time, and that if you got something else to do before hand, now is the time to do it.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** In most installments, the point of no return is a BigDoor that will warn you pretty clearly of that fact. The one in the first game is in a room called "Final Rest" (which comes after a room filled with several waves of enemies), just to make it absolutely clear.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'' notably doesn't do this, at least not overtly. It pretty well implies that the final boss is at Keyblade Graveyard but upon going there you can still run around and leave until you enter an otherwise unimportant looking area which will immediately thrust you into your respective character's FinalBoss fight with no clear forewarning (unlike other games in the series which outright tell you "Entering here will start the final boss fight"). Though to get to the final boss, you have to walk through a ''long'' foreboding tunnel. Likewise once you start the final chapter of the game, you can't return to Radiant Garden without starting the TrueFinalBoss battle upon entering so if you need synthesis items from that world you're out of luck. Also, once you complete the Final Chapter in the US or Final Mix versions, a very difficult BonusBoss will [[BeefGate prevent you from accessing]] [[spoiler: the Land of Departure]] in your old saves until you defeat it, so if you missed any treasure chests from that world the first time around...
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'' subverts it twice. You're warned that "there may be no going back" right before Roxas leaves the Organization, but all it does is set you on your mission immediately after a cutscene. After that, Roxas starts off in Twilight Town instead of The World That Never Was, but you can still access the shop and all your previous missions before you face the FinalBoss. The warning before that fight is subtler, but there's nothing stopping you from going back for OneHundredPercentCompletion after the credits roll.
* In the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series, the point of no return tends to be at the last save point in TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon.
** For ''Videogame/FinalFantasyI'', it's when you examine the orb in the Temple of Chaos once the 4 Crystals are lit. ''Unless'' you have [[EscapeRope the Exit Spell]].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'', the trip into the Dark World is only one-way. Once you enter the mirror and meet Xande, you have to go all the way.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' and ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVI'' have these at the ends of their respective {{Disc One Final Dungeon}}s, or shortly thereafter in the case of ''V'''s ''first'' [=PoNR=].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'':
** The last Point Of No Return is at the bottom of the Northern Crater, where the player can place the last Save Point. Entering the Lifestream that is past this point forces the player to continue down through 2 screens of platforms to the JENOVA-Synthesis boss fight, after which is Sephiroth.
** Before that, Disc 1 has a minor Point of No Return: the Temple of the Ancients. Once entered, it can't be exited until it's completed, though you do get a warning about it when trying to save and enemies to grind on in case you're underleveled. However, this is also the last dungeon where Aerith can be used; once completed she leaves the party, never to return. If you want to obtain her final LimitBreak, you're gonna have to do it before entering the temple.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', the first one in the room past Mobile Type 8, where you fight Seifer for the fourth time. Once you fight Seifer, you cannot exit Lunatic Pandora until Time Compression occurs, by which point most major locations will be sealed off. The second one occurs just before [[BigBad Ultimecia]]'s throne room; passing this point and entering her throne room begins the very long FinalBoss battle.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', you cannot return from [[DiscOneFinalDungeon Terra]] until you finish the plot arc there, and by the time you do, you're on disc 4 - some areas are locked off (as in [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII the previous game]]). The game is merciful enough to warn you of this fact.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', approaching the Tower in the Dead City triggers the Point Of No Return, although there's only a crystal-dodging minigame between that point and the FinalBoss anyhow.
** Subverted in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2''. Approaching the portal in the Farplane Abyss triggers a "Continue forward?" option, with the implication that this is the Point Of No Return. However, there is a save point further on where you can return to the airship, and you can in fact fight the first couple of stages of the SequentialBoss and still return.
** In ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'', the end of the eighth chapter is the PONR. Better unlock the missions that need to be found in Midgar first, for you're never coming back past this point.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' doesn't have any save points in the final area, although it makes sense since the final area only consists of at least 3 or 4 rooms. The game clearly warns you that once you go for the final area, you cannot go back, probably a first in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series. Not only that, but saving at certain parts of the game will have the game advise you to save to another file if you are in a certain point in the plot where you can't go back for a while.
** In a rather interesting case, the much more open world of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'' throws a PointOfNoReturn message at the end of what seems to be every other chapter, though often, it's just a temporary PlotTunnel, which after completed, allows you once again, free-roam of the world. [[spoiler:A little over halfway through the game, after leaving for a new region, you are given an option to return travel to the open world between story missions.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', [[spoiler:once the player enters Orbonne Monastery when it becomes an objective in chapter 4, they're locked in until the end of the game.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' is '''nasty''' and a half; the game offers you a save at [[FinalDungeon Ambervale]], but if you do so there's no going back - and you can't take on the final boss unless you save. If you assume it's just a nice save place, without realising it's a one-way trip, you ''will'' get wiped if you're underleveled.
* The inside of Lavos in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' may or may not be one of these, depending on your method of ingress. Going through the bucket at the End of Time forces you into a BossRush, but once that's over, you have an option to go back just before the FinalBoss. Crash into Lavos with the Epoch, and you'll [[SkippableBoss skip the boss rush]], but you won't be able to go back. Either way, the game warns you multiple times of what you're in for.
* ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'':
** The game prompts you to change discs when entering [[TheEmpire Alfard]]. So far so good; then the plot happens soon after and you board the [[CoolShip Goldoba.]] The Goldoba is a relatively short dungeon, all things considered, but is home to one of [[ThatOneBoss the nastiest battles]] in the game against [[YouKilledMyFather Giacomo]], [[EvilClown Folon]] and [[DarkChick Ayme]]. There's a save point before the room, but it's a red flower. [[note]]To explain, to level up in this game, you need to visit a chapel and pray there to convert your experience points into actual levels. You can get there from the world map (which is inaccessible right now) or through a blue flower, which serve as a portal there on top of being save points; red flowers are save only.[[/note]] The last blue flower was in the port earlier, before boarding the Goldoba. If you can't defeat the evil trio no matter how you build your deck, and you don't have another file before boarding the Goldoba, then you have no choice but to start over.
** ''Baten Kaitos Origins'' has a Nasty one. Right as you're heading to a new continent (you've done this a few times already), the game prompts you to save, and suddenly the game prompts you to put in the second disc of the game. Other than the save prompt, this is completely unexpected, as there wasn't a DiscOneFinalDungeon and your approaching the continent seemed normal. After a few cutscenes, you have to fight the [[ThatOneBoss Holoholobird]], who also doubles as a FlunkyBoss. You can't go back and grind or get new items, because the disc just changed. Many a player has been forced to restart their game to get around this.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfMana''
** In ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana'', the mainland cannot be returned to when entering the Mana Fortress without using a glitch.
** In ''VideoGame/SwordOfMana'', the mainland is inaccessible when entering Dime Tower.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' has a few of these. The first is [[spoiler:Babel Tower]], the PONR for getting a number of useful rare items from a certain shop (the only one that carries them, naturally). The second is [[spoiler:before entering Solaris]]; continuing after that point denies you access to the world map until the very end of the game.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'' uses and subverts it. Right before the final bosses, your [[NinjaButterfly talking suitcase]] warns you that it's the point of no return, but at any save point thereafter, he gives you the option of going back in time to before you passed the point.
** In VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor, there are a few starting with chapter 4: defeating chapter 4's mid-boss, leaving for Keelhaul Key at the beginning of chapter 5, entering the train bound for Poshley Heights in Chapter 6, and [[spoiler:being shot to the Moon]] in chapter 7. Also, leaving the X-Naught Fortress at the end of chapter 7 locks you out of it until after the defeating the FinalBoss
* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'':
** The last door in each game is a point of no return; the 3rd game onwards break the 4th wall to tell the player to save first. ExtendedGameplay is featured so you don't permanently lose the ability to return to earlier areas afterwards.
** SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' also does this, with the second game going so far as to force the player to save before moving past.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManXCommandMission'', once you enter the final chapter of the story, you can't go back until you beat the final boss. On the plus side, beating the game DOES unlock extra armors for X and Zero in the end to retrieve.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** The last dungeon in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', the Mantellan Crux. There is no portal ''inside'' the dungeon and the only way out is to complete the main quest by collecting the Mantella. (''Morrowind'' seems to pay homage to the Mantellan Crux with the Chimer stronghold, Indoranyon.)
** [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]:
*** Averted with the main quest. In fact, it is even recommended that you make several forays into Red Mountain, clearing out and looting the Ash Vampire citadels first, then returning to heal. [[spoiler: It isn't until you are in the Heart Chamber with Dagoth Ur himself that you must defeat him to leave]].
*** The ''Tribunal'' expansion has the "Polite" version. [[spoiler: Almalexia tells you that she is sending you to Sotha Sil's Clockwork City, and that there is no way to return until he is defeated]]. She recommends that you prepare yourself accordingly.
*** The ''Bloodmoon'' expansion has the "Nasty" version. After completing a certain quest, [[spoiler: you'll be kidnapped by werewolves the next time you sleep and taken into the glacier for Hircine's "wild hunt."]] If you don't have the supplies necessary to survive on you, it is strongly recommended that you reload a save from before, if you have one.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', returning to the Imperial City with Martin and entering the Elder Council chamber triggers the final fight sequence. From that point on, you either complete the main quest or you die. Completing the main quest immediately causes every other Oblivion gate to close, so you can never retrieve the powerful Sigil Stones or other treasure they contain.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' has the Skuldafn temple as this. The only way to get there is by riding a dragon, and he tells you he can't stay there.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSunTheBrokenSeal'' you can save during the scene ''after'' you beat the final boss, which prevents you from doing anything else in the game. [[VideoGame/GoldenSunTheLostAge The second game]] does not allow you to save during that scene.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' drew much criticism for having ''six''[[note]]the third happens very soon after the second and the fourth, fifth, and sixth all happen in fairly quick succession[[/note]] of these, making just under '''one third''' of the Djinn and '''half''' the unlockable summons permanently lost. The second one is often ignored because '''''almost''''' everything that gets locked out after you hit it becomes available again once you've passed the sixth one, and there are in fact some items that ''require'' you to return to those areas after [[spoiler:the Grave Eclipse]] to obtain. The third one (the Cloud Passage) isn't so bad because the only treasures in that area are items that can be bought cheaply at any shop, so there's nothing really lost if you don't clean it out while you're there. On the other hand, PNR #4 [[spoiler:playing Arangoa Prelude]] dives all the way down to '''Cruel''' insofar as you aren't aware [[spoiler:that you're closing off all of Morgal]] until you come upon the 5th PNR soon thereafter (where you can only do things in [[spoiler:Belinsk]] and can't leave the city ''except'' [[spoiler:by ship]], which constitutes the 6th and final PNR.
* ''Franchise/{{Ys}}'':
** ''Ys V: Lost Sand City of Kefin'' has two points of no return, one when you go through the portal to Kefin, and the second when you go into [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon the inner keep of Kefin Castle]]. The good news is that, as with ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'', you can't save yourself into an {{Unwinnable}} situation in the latter area, the bad news is you have to fight [[SequentialBoss three bosses in a row]], the first (Karion) and last (Jabir's OneWingedAngel form) of which are ThatOneBoss. Use your health items wisely.
** In ''Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim'', the point of no return occurs when you ride the Wyvern from Kishgal to the Ark (also TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon). Any sword upgrades or items you missed will be lost forever, god help you if you don't have an extra saved game, as the boss fights may be rendered {{Unwinnable}}. Good thing Olha tells you beforehand.
** These games also often prevent you from using [[WarpWhistle Warp Wings or Warp Magic]] to make it a true point of no return. Averted in ''Ys IV: Mask Of The Sun'', where you can still use the warp wing after jumping off the Iris Tower into the Golden Temple, which you can't otherwise return from. The raising of the ancient city does partially play this straight, as it destroys some previous locations such as Fire Mountain.
** Darm Tower in ''Ys I & II''. Averted in Book 2, where you can use the [[WarpWhistle warp magic]] to return to previous areas even after entering the final dungeon.
* ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'':
** ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'' has a borderline point of no return. A word to the wise: [[spoiler:do not talk to Queen Mary with all 8 melodies in tow unless you are sure you can defeat the final boss, as Magicant disappears once you talk to Queen Mary to teach her the song. If you lose to the final boss, certainly do not save or you will have to fight through the mountain full of DemonicSpiders to reach him again.]]
** In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', you cannot turn back after you enter the Phase Distorter II and attempt to teleport directly to the EldritchAbomination. Oddly enough, entering the Phase Distorter ''III'' (essentially a time machine) shortly thereafter is more hyped up as the Point Of No Return, what with you being transformed into robots, the whole concept of TimeTravel, and even the line "There is no turning back now," though that's probably because you run into a save point immediately afterwards. However, Dr. Andonuts does at least stress "You might not be able to return. So, make sure you are optimally outfitted" before you enter the Phase Distorter II.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' the game's final chapter is also a point of no return. The exact time it activates is when the vines guarding the sixth needle are removed, which can be done anytime after the preceding boss. After defeating said boss, anything that you want to do must be done before moving on with the plot. The final chapter even has its own Point of No Return within it, which happens when [[spoiler:Lucas and company fall down a ridiculously long elevator shaft in the Empire Porky Building after defeating the Porky-Bots.]]
* After a certain point in the [[spoiler:Shibuya River]] in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', you cannot go back. In fact, you can't ''save'' after that point, either, because there are no enemies between you and the FinalBoss, which means no LevelGrinding if you can't beat him. Appropriately, the cutoff room is called "Rubicon."
* In ''VideoGame/SonicChronicles'', enter Metropolis Zone and you're not coming back, [[spoiler:allowing you to miss picking up Cream the Rabbit]]. Enter [[spoiler:the Twilight Cage]], and the same thing happens there, [[spoiler:and you can miss Omega for it]]. Ditto for entering [[spoiler:the Nocturnes lair]], and a ''fifth'' Point Of No Return occurs [[spoiler:when you go to fight the final boss]]. Thankfully items and rings [[spoiler:(though not additional party members)]] carry over, into NewGamePlus allowing you to get everything you missed, or miss it again.
* Creator/BioWare games often have a Point Of No Return in the final act, where all incomplete sidequests and previously visited areas become unavailable:
** A few are displayed in ''VideoGame/BaldursGate''. The first occurs once you tell Gorion you are ready to leave in the prologue. After that, the doors to Candlekeep are locked until Chapter 6. Even then, another occurs in that Chapter 6 when you go to the top floor of the inner keep, where [[spoiler: a guard comes in to arrest you for a murder you didn't (or did, depending on whether or not you did a certain encounter) commit. After that, Tethtoril comes in to whisk you away to the catacombs so you can make a clean getaway. Following this, you're hounded by Flaming Fist guards as a fugitive (whom you cannot kill without ruining your Reputation and alienating a Good-aligned party) until the endgame.]]
** In ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'', you could back out of the final locations right up until you engaged Irenicus in battle. After that, you were limited to defeating him, [[spoiler:getting dragged to Hell together with him, completing several minor quests, fighting Irenicus and a few major demons ''again'', and... watching the credits]], in that order.
** In ''VideoGame/IcewindDale'', one point of no return occurs when you leave on the expedition with Hrothgar, as [[spoiler: Ice giants attack, blocking the way back.]] Another occurs when [[spoiler: You go off to face Poquelin/Belhifet at the bottom of the Temple of Tempus.]]
** ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' did this several times, with little to no warning before hand: accepting Canderous' offer to help you infiltrate Davik Kang's estate seals off the rest of Taris; finding the third Star Map seals off Dantooine; heading to the Star Forge seals off the rest of the galaxy.
** In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicII'' (made by Obsidian), going to the Jedi Council room on Dantooine after [[spoiler:gathering together or killing the surviving Council members]] put you on a one-way track to the end of the game.
** ''VideoGame/{{Mass Effect|1}}'' had a softer version. After discovering [[BigBad Saren]]'s destination, [[spoiler:visiting the Citadel temporarily sealed off the rest of the Galaxy, until you got the ''Normandy'' back under your command]]. The Citadel remained sealed off after that. Setting course for [[spoiler:Ilos]], however, put you on the one-way fast track to the endgame.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' made its point of no return very obvious from the beginning: going through the Omega 4 Mass Relay and engaging in the Suicide Mission ([[DownerEnding potentially ending with everyone dying]]). However, if Shepard survives, the game subverts this trope by [[PlayableEpilogue giving access to all the unfinished quests and locations back to you again]]. Also, although the Omega 4 Relay is the point of no return, the Reaper [=IFF=] mission will set in motion events that will influence what kind of ending you get, making it a "soft" point of no return [[spoiler:combined with VideoGameCaringPotential]].[[note]]Specifically, after getting the EFF from the dead reaper, you have 2 outings left before the Collectors raid your ship and kidnap everyone. After that, you have to go through the Omega 4 Relay immediately if you want to save all your crew. If you wait for one outing, half your crew will die. If you wait longer than that, everyone except Dr. Chakwas will die. And there is absolutely zero indication or warning that this timer of sorts has started after getting the IFF. AND you presumably will want to do Legion's loyalty mission, so really that leaves you with only 1 outing of free time.[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' has a two-stage "endgame", the first stage being [[spoiler:the assault on Cerberus HQ]]. Admiral Hackett warns you that once you start, you're committed - there's no going back. After that mission, you go back to the Normandy, but you have only one place left to go from there: Earth. Additionally, there's a minor (but fairly nasty) example; completing the Tuchanka arc causes [[spoiler:Cerberus to attack the Citadel]], and after that many available sidequests are permanently closed off.
** ''From Ashes'' DLC: Finish Javik's recruitment mission without gathering all the Eden Prime intel? Better start a new game if you want that achievement.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' also has a soft point of no return after starting the Landsmeet, upon which some quests and locations became unavailable. However, the real point of no return is travelling to Redcliffe after finishing the Landsmeet, which puts you, again, on a one-way fast track to the end. Additionally, securing the help of one of the factions for the coming fight seals off the town of Lothering, which, storywise, has been overrun by the Blight. Also, if you go to the Circle of Magi and agree to enter the tower, the doors shut behind you, forcing you to complete the quest line. You're warned about this, though.
** In the ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening'' expansion, the Point Of No Return is telling the seneschal that you're done with your preparations for the darkspawn attack on Amaranthine and Vigil's Keep. The darkspawn are polite enough to [[TakeYourTime wait until you're ready]].
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' is merciful regarding the points of no return in the first two acts: Before starting the expedition at the end of Act I, you are told to resolve any outstanding business in the city. Before visiting the Arishok in Act II, Aveline tells you the same thing. Act III, however, ends without a warning: Accepting the letter which gives you the third main quest in this act, and then going to a certain part of the city triggers the endgame.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' has the Trespasser DLC, weirdly. The base game will let you do every quest after beating the game, but once you start the final DLC, the story skips forward a couple of years, and you're no longer allowed to do sidequests without loading a previous save, even after finishing the DLC.
** ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a few, but none as ominous as the message displayed before starting the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion, which warns you that all side content will be cut off, and all your companions will be removed, with no way to access their affection quests again. The game is so insistent on you understanding that this is a point of no return that it makes you confirm TWICE before starting the first chapter.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'':
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' contains a controversial point of no return in the final story mission ''Take it Back!'' Once the player enters the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial, there is no way to exit. Activating Project Purity (or running out of time, causing it to explode) will result in the game ending, but because you cannot exit the rotunda, you have no choice but to activate it and receive an ending. In response to this jarring departure from the open-world nature of the game, modders took it upon themselves to design addons to allow PC players to continue their adventures in the Capital Wasteland after activating Project Purity. However, the Broken Steel DLC expands the main story, so regardless of your choice at the end, you can do sidequests after the main story's completion.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' gives you a warning right before going into the final battle at Hoover Dam, asking you if you're committed to a specific ending. There is no option to play past the ending even with DLC, since the effort to implement the incredibly dramatic changes would be pretty astronomical for the developers.
** Both ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' present Merciful points of no return early on. In these cases, after having played with your character for a bit, you're given a chance to reconsider your appearance, attributes, and skill loadout before they're committed permanently (New Vegas gives you one more chance with ''Old World Blues'', the Auto-Doc can perform a psychological exam, aka choose traits, and you can get new ones, but it's one time only). You're allowed to back off and save at these points as an added precaution. Also in both games, when you're about to leave the main Wasteland and enter a DLC area, you're warned about the things you won't be able to do once your cross the threshold and given a chance to reconsider. The general warning given is, ''"Once you go, you can't return until you finish."'' However, in ''Lonesome Road'' you are able to leave The Divide even before you complete the storyline, although there is a point of no return when you enter Ulysses' Temple. ''Point Lookout'' also allows you to go back to the Wasteland if you can pay the [[GetOnTheBoat ferry toll]], and you have to return to the Dunwich Building for one of the sidequest objectives.
** There's two tough Points of No Return in the ''Fallout 3'' DLC ''Mothership Zeta''. Once you go up to the upper level of the mothership, you can't go back to the lower level, and once you reach the Death Ray Hub, you can't go back to the preceding areas. Some areas can be revisited after completing all of the quests, but others, such as the Cryo Lab, Waste Disposal, Research Lab, Weapons Lab, and Biological Research areas, which contain many of the Captive Logs and a number of unique weapons, are lost.
** As with Vault 101, once you leave Raven Rock, you're permanently locked out, and thus if you missed the Energy Weapons Bobblehead or other items, they're [[PermanentlyMissableContent gone forever]]. Raven Rock itself has a point of no return when you enter the Control Room, immediately after you pass the room with the bobblehead.
** During the Reilly's Rangers sidequest, there's a nasty one when you enter the Statesman Hotel through a one-way drop; you can't leave until you reach the rooftop and fix the [[DoorToBefore express elevator]], fighting through hordes of Super Mutants along the way. If you run out of ammo, you're up the {{Unwinnable}} creek.
** ''Operation: Anchorage'' has several of the Nasty type, as the result of locking doors or {{invisible wall}}s, preventing you from retrieving any Intel cases or weapon pickups you missed, or using previous ammo or health stations.
** ''Point Lookout'' also has a nasty PlotTunnel in the very first quest, when the door locks behind you upon entering the west wing of Calvert Mansion, and you face several {{Inescapable Ambush}}es by [[DemonicSpiders Tribals]]. You better have picked up the ammunition and stimpaks beforehand.
** In ''Honest Hearts'', once you start the final quest, you are warned that you won't be able to do any previous uncompleted sidequests. It also disables quick-travelling.
** ''Dead Money'' has ''five'', entering the Sierra Madre, another when activating the Gala, one when you enter the Casino, and another after using the basement security terminal, which locks the elevator until Elijah comes down. After completing the story, you have one last chance to explore the Villa before returning to the Mojave.
** ''Videogame/{{Fallout 4}}'' has a Polite point of no return near the endgame, where you must commit to supporting one faction. The game will prompt you that performing a certain action will make all members of a faction permanently hostile, and give you the option to stop or go on with the action.
* There are three points of no return in ''VideoGame/IllusionOfGaia'': [[spoiler:Getting on the Incan ship, going to the Sky Garden, and the cutscene immediately before Dark Gaia]]. You also cannot go back into Edward Castle after [[spoiler:escaping its dungeon]].
* In ''VideoGame/JadeCocoon'', there is no warning that after completing [[spoiler:the Moth Forrest]] you're cut off from any previous areas in the game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'' has a doozy at the end, where one scene starts a chain that prevents you from going to any previous area, and leaves you stuck with access to the final dungeon only if you save.
* ''VideoGame/{{Quest 64}}'' has one, sort of: at the end of a hallway in Brannoch Castle, there's a door to a room with [[spoiler:Brian's father, battered from combat thanks to Shannon]]. You'll know you're in this hallway because halfway through there's a door leading to a room with Leonardo who provides an opportunity to rest. The only way to visit any previous areas if you go past this point is to die before saving again, so that you get sent back to whichever rest person you rested with last. Of course, [[spoiler:Epona]] provides an opportunity to rest near the end.
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'':
** In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryI'', after defeating the Brigand Leader, going back to the castle ends the game (and gives you the BadEnding to boot), so you can't clean the stables or challenge the Weapon Master from that point on.
** ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'' operates on a 30-day cycle. The caravan to [[WretchedHive Raseir]] leaves at dawn on day 17, and you are locked into the endgame for the rest of the adventure.
** In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIII'', it's after the Tarna peace conference with the Simbani and Leopardmen. You also can't enter the Simbani Village anymore, thus railroading you to the jungle and to the Lost City.
** In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'', it's the Dark One Cave once you finally enter it again.
** And in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV'', it's the mansion of the BigBad.
* In ''[[VideoGame/AvencastRiseOfTheMage Avencast: Rise of the Mage]]'', don't go through the [[spoiler:shimmery interdimensional portal if you ever want to go back... despite the fact that the other end stays open, and every other such portal you encounter later can be used repeatedly.]]
* ''VideoGame/WildArms5'' has a Point Of No Return that the game is kind enough to warn you about at the top of [[spoiler:Volsung's TF System Tower, right before fighting Volsung the first time]]. Once you pass that point, you actually have several bosses and a whole VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon to run through, so chances are you'll want to save at some point...but if you do, you can't return to Filgaia until the NewGamePlus.
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' lets you wander freely through unlocked areas right up until Griffith Park. Once you head off for that quest, you're locked into a sequence of three to four endgame missions. The game does allow you to buy blood, weapons and so on in between stops.
* In ''VideoGame/EndlessFrontier'', you can neither save nor leave after [[spoiler:entering the Einst world]]. This means that you must win three boss battles in a ''row'' to complete the game, with no chance to save. Fortunately, [[RecurringTraveler Koma]] comes with you, giving you access to both a shop and a means of free healing.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona'':
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'', every dungeon is "locked" after its boss fight, making a lot of little points of no return for each dungeon (so make sure you get everything you want done). But the game overall doesn't have one - you can leave the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon right before the final boss room to go get fast food, play in the casino, and send in a few more magazine sweepstakes cards. ''Innocent Sin'' looks like it puts you through one to enter the final dungeon but then it hands you a shortcut out near the end.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', entering the final dungeon on the final day is compulsory, and once you enter Tartarus, you cannot leave even to shop. During the final week, your characters continually remind you [[RainbowSpeak in bright red letters]] to stock up before that day arives.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', on the very last day, [[spoiler:you can choose to chase the True Ending by entering TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon instead of going home. If you do so, once you enter the TV world, you won't be able to explore Inaba anymore; if you try to leave, you'll only have the choice to go to Daidara or Shiroku.]]
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'', it extends throughout the entire game. Upon reaching a dungeon's "treasure", you get the option of sending a CallingCard to the target. Once you do so, you're locked in: you're forced into the dungeon the next day and won't be able to leave until the boss is defeated. However, you are given the option to go back one week should you lose against the boss, in case you jumped into it before you were ready (and so preventing {{Unwinnable}} situations). Also, once you beat the boss, you won't be able to explore the dungeon again.
*** [[spoiler: Played with near the end of the game. On Christmas Eve, you're forced into Mementos to travel to the newly unlocked Mementos Depths. Caroline can provide free healing at the entrance and you can leave to go shop at certain shops, but otherwise, you're stuck until you clear Mementos. However, after the HopelessBossFight you return to the real world, which has turned into TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon, and are unable to shop, but you can still get free healing from Lavenza.]]
* Every ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' game has this when going into the Pokémon League. Once you enter, the doors shut behind you and the only way out is to defeat the Elite Four and Champion or be defeated. Hopefully you were sufficiently prepared.
* The ''Franchise/{{Fable}}'' games have several of these, and the player is ''usually'' explicitly warned about them, such as [[spoiler:the final (or first, if you're playing ''The Lost Chapters'') battle against Jack of Blades, as well as the lead up to the true final battle against him in TLC]] in ''VideoGame/{{Fable I}}'', and [[spoiler:going to the Tattered Spire and then again later when meeting with Reaver]] in ''VideoGame/{{Fable II}}''. But then there is the infamous [[spoiler:Day 121]] in ''VideoGame/{{Fable III}}'', after which the game progresses immediately to the endgame with hardly any warning, and if you haven't [[spoiler:put enough money into your treasury]] by that point, you're doomed to the bad ending [[spoiler:unless you turn around and walk into the fog, which sends you back to day 121.]]
* ''Every'' time you leave a location in China in ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts'' (with the exception of Shanghai), you leave for good. After Dehuai's tower, you leave ''China'' for good.
* In ''VideoGame/SailorMoonAnotherStory'', each part of the game is divided into arcs, and there are several areas you can never visit again if you don't get everything from them when you ''can'' visit them. This can be extremely annoying when trying to gather the sailors' character-specific equipment. If you missed Mars' Ruby Tiara, for example, you can't go back for it past a certain point in the game and you've therefore lost the large stat increase it gives.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' has alignment locks. These lock in your ending and, for the most part, prevent you from going to certain areas:
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'', the first Point isn't even the alignment lock - it's when Thor nukes Japan. This massively changes the game world, and there's no going back to the original world. The alignment lock and second Point comes when entering the Cathedral. Depending on how you enter and who you enter with, your alignment is set and there's no going back.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'', the alignment lock takes place when Zayin and Lucifer ask you if you will side with them - say yes to Zayin, you're in Law. Say yes to Lucifer, Chaos. Refuse both, Neutral. The true Point of No Return is on Neutral and Chaos when you enter Eden for the last time, at which point you cannot return.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'', there are two places where this happens. The first comes from entering the Tower of Kagutsuchi; if you're doing a Neutral, Demon or Reason ending then this is where your ending is confirmed. However, there is a second one which comes from clearing the Amala Labyrinth and being imbued with [[spoiler:Lucifer]]'s powers. If you trigger this one, then it overrides any other ending you would have normally gotten.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', once you approach the FinalBoss's room for the first time and [[spoiler:speak to resurrected Gore, answer his questions (if you qualify for them by not being too extremely Law or Chaos), and kill him (if you qualify as a result of not aligning as Neutral)]], your CharacterAlignment is locked for the rest of the game.
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', when you [[spoiler:return from Infernal Tokyo and talk to The White for the third time]], your ending is locked. Which, in turn, limits the areas you are allowed to return to depending on which ending:
*** Law players can't return to [[spoiler:the alternate Tokyos because the Yamato Perpetual Reactor -- the gate to those areas -- is their final destination and the game will end once they reach it]].
*** Chaos players can't do anything of value in [[spoiler:Mikado]] anymore, as it's only accessible after [[spoiler:defeating [[FinalBoss Merkabah]]; at that point you can't return to Tokyo and all you can do is explore via Mikado's menu interface until you go to the roof to begin the ending proper]].
*** Neutral players, mercifully, have neither restriction; you have to defeat the Chaos path's FinalBoss first, then you can explore [[spoiler:Mikado]] freely again, then defeat the Law path's final boss, then afterwards you can explore everywhere at your own pace until you visit [[spoiler:Cafe Florida]] with the final Neutral quest complete.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' doesn't really have these for the Law or Chaos routes, as siding with Law leads to one last boss battle and then the Law ending, and siding with Chaos triggers the Chaos ending immediately. Instead, a more proper alignment lock takes place on the final floor of the next dungeon: [[spoiler:Siding with Dagda]] locks you into the Massacre route, on which [[spoiler:you lose all partners (and in fact, ''fight them to death'') and can choose only one partner to be resurrected as your ally (once you decide on a partner, you're stuck with them for the remainder of the game)]], while [[spoiler:opposing Dagda]] locks you into the Bonds route, [[spoiler:on which you keep all of your partners]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'':
** You get a warning before you prepare to enter the Tazal Terminals. You're given plenty of time to complete any Proving Grounds weapon challenges you missed, but once you visit the Terminals, you can't go back, and you have to wait for a NewGamePlus to attempt them again.
** Anytime you take the Skybridge out of a level, or taking the MacGuffin, once you land at the Bastion, you can't go back. Proving Grounds are only locked off when you fully complete their challenges.
* ''VideoGame/NetHack'' has one right before the elemental planes, but it warns you beforehand and there are opportunities (albeit limited) for items to drop.
* Lots, since ButThouMust is a major theme of ''VideoGame/TheHalloweenHack'': entering the Winters sewers, entering the World of Doom, entering Dr. Andonuts' lab, entering Magicant, and finally, entering the final area beyond Fake Twoson.
* ''VideoGame/{{Gothic}} II'': Sailing to the [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon isle of Irdorath]]. You're given ample warning before you go, and you can choose a number of friends to accompany you, who will later on fill the duty of skill trainers, shopkeepers and healers.
* Zael's knighting ceremony in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'': [[spoiler:his refusal to swear loyalty to the scheming Count upsets everything; then the Gurak arrive to besiege the city. You can no longer use the Map to travel between areas (or replay dungeons) until the epilogue]].
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars: The Pit'' is the Nasty sort. Once you start descending the levels, you will be limited in the number of higher floors you can go back to, with the way back up getting sealed off past a certain point. The game doesn't tell you this; you have to find out for yourself by trying to go back up. And like any other {{Roguelike}}, there's only one save that gets deleted on death...
* The Goblin and Pandaren starting zones in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' are surprisingly this, [[JustifiedTutorial seeing how the starting zones are meant to be a glorified]] TutorialLevel, what makes it stand out is the fact that the starting zones for all of the other races can still be accessed later. Still, once you leave your character's [[NoobCave island homeland]] and become a part of Azeroth proper, there's no going back. The Worgen one ''technically'' you can go back to, but the geographic area is instead an Undead player's early-game zone, while the Worgen tutorial consists of a wholly separate "Instanced" zone that takes place ''much'' earlier on.
* In ''VideoGame/AWitchsTale'', this point of no return is entering the final world after obtaining the six sigils. Loue explicitly warns about this.
* In ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'', being teleported to TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon leaves you with no option to go back, although you're more or less explicitly warned about this beforehand and are given [[TakeYourTime more than enough time]] to prepare (unless you kill the person who teleports you).
* There are at least two of these in TheLordOfTheRingsOnline, not counting tutorial instances. While pursuing the main quest-line, players will encounter regions where advancing the plot will update the [=NPCs=] in the area and close off side-quests. This happens at the gates of Moria and again during the Lothlorien elves' invasion of Mirkwood. The game gives players fair warning before they lose their opportunity to complete the side-quests.
* ''VideoGame/PillarsOfEternity''
** It's pretty obvious that [[spoiler:leaping into a pit so ridiculously deep that divine intervention is required to survive to face an angry awakening god and her high priest]] is a decision that cannot be reversed. Just in case, there's a special auto-save slot that is only used to create a save just ''before'' crossing the point, so if the player didn't realize what they were getting themselves into or vastly underestimated the enemies awaiting below, there will always be that save to go back to. [[FinalDeathMode Trial of Iron]] eliminates the auto-save, since you only have the one save, but it's still an obvious a point of no return, and a player who chooses the Trial of Iron already knows what they're getting themselves into. For those who fail to heed the warnings, the result is nasty -- no TraumaInn beyond the supplies you bring, and a finite supply of some truly vicious enemies.
** A much less polite soft point of no return happens when you enter the VIP box in the ducal palace to attend the animancy hearings at the end of Act II. Once you enter, a sequence of events will play out that will lock you out of Defiance Bay permanently, including [[PermanentlyMissableContent any sidequests that involve the city]].
* ''VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles'' has a few, where timed quests (noted by a clock on the quest log), certain areas (and their items, Unique Monsters, [[PointandClickMap Skip Travel locations]]), and {{Non Player Character}}s, will become unavailable or changed until NewGamePlus:
** The first one is Polite as you are asked if you have everything done before moving the refugees back to Colony 6.
** The boss fight at the end of [[spoiler: Mechonis Field]] is Tough as you lose access to Sword Valley and Galahad Fortress due to the Allied Force assault. Even the way is blocked off from Valak Mountain by a landslide!
** The next comes after the first visit to [[spoiler: Agniratha]], but before [[spoiler: Mechonis Core]], when [[spoiler: Egil revives the Mechonis]], you get locked out of Mechonis Field, and [[spoiler: Agniratha's]] [[PointAndClickMap Skip Travel locations]] are disabled, but you can get back by the lift in [[EternalEngine Central Factory]].
** The biggest is after completing [[spoiler:Mechonis Core]], which unlocks the VeryDefiniteFinalDungeon, locks you out of the [[spoiler:Mechonis, due to it's destruction,]] and unlocks the Pre-Final Boss content.
** The final Point of No Return is at [[spoiler:the top of Prison Island]] which sends you to the Final Bosses, [[spoiler: Dickson, the Solar Memory bosses, and Zanza]] and the game is polite enough to ask you if you really want to continue.
* ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'' is polite about this in the last chapter where Elma will ask you twice if you are ready for the end.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'': It depends on the route:
** On Neutral, defeating Asgore. Once he is taken care of, Flowey hijacks the game, and any subsequent attempts at opening the game are met with the FinalBoss [[spoiler:since said boss has usurped control of [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou your ability to SAVE and LOAD]].]] Before you fight him, Asgore asks you if you still need to do anything, and says you should take care of it before fighting him.
** On Pacifist, entering the True Lab. You're locked inside after entering, and once you escape, you're stuck in New Home to fight the TrueFinalBoss.
** Genocide has two. The first is killing forty enemies in Hotlands or the CORE, which leaves you with no way off of the route without resetting - not even, [[UrbanLegendOfZelda contrary to popular belief]], stalling while fighting Mettaton NEO. The second is when the game crashes after the Fallen Child attacks. This one is much more severe - after this, if you decide to play again, you have to sell the protagonist's SOUL in order to restore the game, permanently tainting future Pacifist endings and altering additional future Genocide endings.
** The Ruins will be permanently sealed off if you spare Toriel since she doesn't want you to return. You can miss out on getting a slice of pie from Toriel and getting some spider food from the local spider bake sale if you didn't get them before leaving the Ruins; both items will make certain boss fights easier. If you kill Toriel instead, the Ruins won't be closed off.
* ''VideoGame/MegadimensionNeptuniaVII'' has several, all of the pretty polite:
** A subversion appears when Neptune leaves the Zero Dimension [[spoiler:alone]]. The following short chapter is more of an interlude before focus returns there.
** Ending the Neptunia Z chapter requires going to a total dead-end on the map with no other purpose, after every character tells you the final battle awaits there. [[spoiler:It should be obvious to anyone that you'll be going back, as the entire map is littered with things that depend on systems you haven't unlocked yet.]]
** Each of the four Neptunia G chapters is completely isolated, and you're warned point-blank when you're about to close one out.
** In the game's final act [[spoiler:The four nations and the Zero Dimension all reconnect.]]
* ''ChildOfLight'' has its point of no return when Aurora enters the Palace of the Sun, where you navigate several deathtraps and fight Nox before being whisked straight to the FinalBoss battle following a long cutscene. Between these battles, you won't have a chance to swap out your party's [[PowerCrystal Oculi]], so make sure you're properly equipped beforehand.
* Two in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon''. The first comes when you take to the [[spoiler:Divine Tree]] after Mayfil, you'll be well and truly stuck on it with no way to return to the rest of the world, so see to it that you've done all your business, such as collecting and turning in the Stardusts. A second one happens from there on entering the [[spoiler:Moon That Never Sets]], cutting you off of going back to the [[spoiler:Divine Tree]].

* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'':
** The game falls under the Nasty bit when it comes to visiting The End. Once you go in, there's no way to leave other than to jump off the world and into the void, killing yourself and losing all items on your person. OR, you can hope that what you have with you is sufficient to defeat the Enderdragon so you can find the exit portal.
** Similarly, if a Ghast's explosive fireball hits your portal in The Nether, it shuts it off, trapping you in the hell world unless you were smart enough to bring Flint and Steel with you so you can relight the portal. If you don't have it, you can hope the Ghast will shoot the portal again to turn it on or you have to kill yourself to leave.
* ''VideoGame/{{Terraria}}'':
** Once the [[DiskOneFinalBoss Wall of Flesh]] is defeated, Hardmode is activated for that world and two strips of either the Corruption or Crimson and the Hallow spawn along with the Overworld spawning newer and tougher enemies. Without restarting on a new world, there is no way to return to Pre-Hardmode after activating Hardmode.
** After Plantera is defeated in the Underground Jungle, the Dungeon begins to spawn its Hardmode enemies which are some of the most dangerous enemies in the entire game.
** For [[FinalDeath Hardcore]] characters, once the Lunatic Cultist in front of the Dungeon is defeated, the Lunar Events begin and the only way to stop them and return the world to normal is to destroy the Celestial Towers and [[spoiler:defeat [[FinalBoss the Moon Lord.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'' is very polite. As you embark on the final stage of the main quest, the game pauses and displays a warning box which literally informs you that you have reached the point of return, suggests you make a manual save, and reminds you that some side quests will no longer be available upon completion of the main quest. You also have the option of simply turning around and working on other quests until you're ready to tackle the final quest.

[[folder:Shoot Em Up]]
* After assembling the Golden Warpship in ''VideoGame/SolarJetman'', you can't go back and pick up any treasures that you missed on the last planet. You now have to fly the super-cruiser off the planet in one shot, and colliding with the planet's surface will kill you and end your game, since that warpship is the [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup only one of its kind]].

[[folder: Survival Horror]]
* The ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games always has at least one and they never tell you about them until it's too late:
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' creates a point of no return once the self destruct sequence starts (which happens when you reach the final basement floor with your player character's partner and encounter Wesker and the Tyrant). Trying to use the elevator leading back to the courtyard has your character refusing to use it. Any items you left behind from that point will be lost for good, including important key items needed to rescue the other player character.
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' will have you stuck at Umbrella's laboratory once you take the lift down to it due to plot; Ada is critically wounded (Leon scenario A), Sherry is succumbing to the G-virus infection (Claire scenario A), the elevator restarts itself while you were away from it (either character in scenario B).
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' has a few points of no return. Once you get the trolley moving, you won't be able to return to the city. Entering the Dead Factory later on will prevent you from returning to the Clock Tower due to the only way back being cut off. At the very end, the threat of nuclear missiles heading towards the city locks the door behind you in the control room, leaving you no choice but to go forward.
** In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'', the point of no return is after leaving Rockfort Island. There's a metal detector deposit box on the island that isn't connected to the item boxes, so any items left here are lost forever once that part of the island is destroyed by the SelfDestructMechanism. Also, don't leave any important weapons in Claire's possession when you switch back to her for the last time.
* The ''Franchise/SilentHill'' games have this at numerous points, such as entering or leaving the DarkWorld, one-way trips via car, train or boat, or if the path behind you becomes blocked by a BrokenBridge.
* In ''VideoGame/CampSunshine'' there is a point of no return just before area leading to the final confrontation with the killer. It's a variation of the polite variety. Not only does the game warn you, there are no save points after that point, so you couldn't mess yourself up by saving after it even if you tried.
* ''VideoGame/TheHangedMan'' has two moments that each count as a point of no return and both are of the '''Tough''' variant.
** After entering the Dining Room in Building 2 and watching the long cutscene, the player can choose to [[spoiler:follow Sophie]] or to not do that. Depending on what the player does, they are now stuck on a path leading to two Bad Endings or a path that leads to a Bad Ending and the Good Ending. The tricky part is that this choice can only happen ''within 8 seconds after the scene is over''. [[spoiler:Sophie's footsteps can be heard for that amount of time. Once they go silent, the player has lost the choice to follow her.]]
** After a very important cutscene in Building 4, Will has to follow Keith and tell him something important. Once the talk has occured, the player is stuck at that point and on their ending path. Of course, which [[MultipleEndings ending]] the player has gotten is based on a minor action that the player [[GuideDangIt may or may not]] have done moments before.
* ''Franchise/FatalFrame'' switches between being polite enough to warn the player and other times just letting them walk into their misery. Particularly, the second game has a save point right outside the room of the penultimate boss and opening the door to proceed prompts the game to warn you that this is the last opportunity to save and you should. The first game did not give you any warning.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadIsland'', once you entered the Prison, there's no turning back, all your side quests on the island would be immediately ended, though there's a warning beforehand, the Prison contains its own sidequests including [[InfinityPlusOneSword Deathstalker Zed's Demise]], and NewGamePlus is available once you killed the FinalBoss.
* In the VideoGame/{{Mario}} fangame ''VideoGame/MarioTheMusicBox'', the game gives you two informed instances of this after [[spoiler: Luigi is reunited with Mario]]. Another less obvious one is when [[spoiler: Mario and Luigi pull a lever and have to make it into the deeper parts of the mines before the time limit is up]].
* ''VideoGame/HauntingGround'': Once you enter the next antagonist's section of the game, the previous area will become inaccessible for one reason or another. The only exception is between Daniella and Riccardo's area, since they each take place in one half of the Mansion.

[[folder:Turn Based Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown''
** Entering the Gollop Chamber with your top [[PsychicPowers psychic]] soldier will start the final sequence. However, the game is pretty '''merciful''' and warns you several times that you won't be able to do anything but attack [[spoiler:the Temple Ship]] from that point on. Any ongoing R&D will stop, and no more [=UFOs=] will show up. In fact, the first time you try to do this, one of the characters will outright tell you that she feels that activating the Chamber will mark the beginning of the end.
** A more '''nasty''' variant of this trope comes into play in the expansion pack ''Enemy Within'': [[spoiler:after you complete your assault on the alien base, you will have about a couple of weeks before the aliens launch an attack on XCOM HQ. There is no warning before the aliens come, you won't have any control over which soldiers sortie for the base's defense, and if you fail, [[NonstandardGameOver the game ends automatically]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/XCOM2'', once you [[spoiler: hijack the [=ADVENT=] Network Tower and expose their crimes to the world]], you have to [[spoiler: attack the Alien's underwater base]]. Like the previous game, it'll warn you beforehand that you'll be headed straight to the endgame. However, what triggers the penultimate mission in the first place is a research that gives no such warning.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemGaiden'', there's a point in Act 2 where Celica's route meets with Alm's. You can actually explore Alm's half of the map so far with Celica before going to the top of Zofia Castle -- but once you do, a rockslide will bar her from it for the rest of the game (though the remake will have one of the paths unblocked after beating Duma and both armies merge).

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/DokiDokiLiteratureClub'' features an unusual nasty version on the day of the festival. [[spoiler:After the protagonist discovers Sayori's body, the game ''deletes'' all of the player's saves and starts over (with significant changes). This prevents the player from getting the best ending if they didn't see all of the girls' [=CGs=] before the reset.]] There's no warning that this will happen, only minor {{foreshadowing}} from Monika when she [[BreakingTheFourthWall advises the player to save at important decisions]], [[spoiler: which even then doesn't help without prior knowledge of what's to come.]] The game has similar points of no return at the end of acts 2 and 3.

[[folder: Webgames]]
* ''Videogame/LuckyTower'': all over the place in the first game, where it is impossible to go back up the tower once you selected the right door and went to the next level. Also shows up in the second game; once you set out towards the town of Brazendorn, it is impossible to go back to the first town, rendering some sidequests (like finding the bart's trumpet) impossible to complete if you haven't done so already.
* ''VideoGame/FallenLondon'' has a few, some signposted, some not. Most famously, "Seeking Mr Eaten's Name" has a [[http://imgur.com/OouPRPr very clearly marked]] one that, if passed, prevents you from returning to the entire rest of the game. ''Forever''. [[SchmuckBait Quite a few people have done this.]]

!!Non-VideoGame Examples:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/MadeInAbyss'', the frontier between the Fifth and Sixth Layers of the Abyss is considered this, as the curse that envelops the entire chasm will kill and/or horribly mutate any human that tries to climb out of the Sixth Layer. In spite of this, some explorers and adventurers decide to descend into the Sixth Layer, knowing that they will never be able to return home.

* In the third ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' film, Doc Brown makes it perfectly clear that once the train crosses the windmill, "It's the future or bust".
* In ''Film/FallingDown'', Bill "D-Fens" Foster discusses this concept with his wife near the end.
-->"I've passed the point of no return. Do you know what that is, Beth? That's the point in a journey where it's longer to go back to the beginning. It's like when those astronauts got in trouble. I don't know, somebody messed up, and they had to get them back to Earth. But they had passed the point of no return. They were on the other side of the moon and were out of contact for like hours. Everybody waited to see if a bunch of dead guys in a can would pop out the other side. Well, that's me. I'm on the other side of the moon now and everybody is going to have to wait until I pop out."

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The TropeNamer dates to [[WoodenShipsAndIronMen the age of sailing]]. Ships could only hold so much in the way of supplies to keep its occupants fed and hydrated, and would only account for getting there, not turning around to come back. If they had gotten too far out by the time they decided to abort, they would likely starve or die of dehydration before they got back, so the only option was to keep going anyway and hope for the best. The point at which turning around to head home instead of wherever they were trying to go in the first place would be more dangerous than just continuing onward came to be known as the point of no return.
* In aviation, this term refers to the point where the pilot must continue to the destination because there isn't enough fuel to carry him back to where he started.
* The event horizon of a black hole is defined as the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape its gravitational pull and ''will'' fall into the singularity. Eventually whatever falls in will be spat back out as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation hawking radiation]], but of course that's of no consolation.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Rubicon The Rubicon]] was considered the point of no return in the days of UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic. The Rubicon river was one of the borders of Rome, and it was a capital offense for Roman generals to cross the river with his army; they had to be disbanded first. This was intended to protect Rome from potential coups, but all that changed when UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar marched his legion past the river, knowing he and his men were committing a capital offense, and it was do or die from then on. Legend has it that he hesitated on whether to cross the line, and when he decided to cross it he uttered the phrase, "The die is cast." He won the civil war that followed and was sparked by his crossing, though, which of course made sure that he was never charged with the crime.