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Point of No Return

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Be thankful, Sora. 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?"

The Point of No Return is 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 Infinity +1 Sword) are effectively lost permanently from here on out.

This often happens near the game's finale, such as before entering The Very Definitely Final Dungeon or just before challenging the Final Boss. You may even hear the narrator or another character warn you that "there is no going back" or "This Is the Final Battle".

There may or may not be Save Points, Trauma Inns, 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 Save Point 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 Unwinnable by Design):

  • Merciful: The game has no concept of sidequests, 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 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, or a special, clearly labeled auto-save will be generated for you just before passing the point.
  • Polite: The game explicitly 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 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 encourages you to save after you've passed the (hidden) point. Worse yet, the game could even Auto-Save after passing it!

Another dimension to this is whether there is a Playable Epilogue or Endgame+ 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 Very Definitely Final Dungeon with no way to go back or finish it. Other games offer a New Game Plus so the player can restart their adventure (and eventually re-open the playable areas, one by one) with elements and stats carried over from the past playthrough.

Games that regularly prevent you from returning to earlier completed areas are another trope entirely, although freeform or ability-based level exploration may blur the line. See also Plot Tunnel, 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 Door of Doom and/or announced by an Ominous Save Prompt.

This 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. It's also a term used to describe an "event horizon," a point in spacetime (usually a black hole) where once crossed, gravity becomes so strong that it's physically impossible for anything (even light itself) to escape.

Compare Point of No Continues, You Can Turn Back, Last Chance to Quit and Inescapable Ambush. Often goes hand-in-hand with Door Jam, where there's an in-universe explanation for why the hero can't turn back and is forced to face a danger alone.

Supertrope to One-Time Dungeon: an area that can be accessed once, which of course has its point of no return - but limited to that area.

Warning! Expect spoilers ahead! Once you read through these spoilers, you won't be able to experience these moments blind!

Video Game Examples:

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  • In ANNO: Mutationem, proceeding into the deepest level of The Consortium's underground facility will have a prompt upon reaching a certain door warning you that the final chapter will commence once you past through and visits to previous areas won't be possible. With a Teleport Spring nearby, it'll allow you to stock up on any needed items for the last chapter.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • In Batman: Arkham City, your second trip to the Steel Mill to reclaim the cure for Batman's TITAN poisoning leads to Protocol 10's initiation once you beat the Joker in his boss fight. This renders world-exploration highly difficult (but not impossible). But returning to the base of Wonder Tower locks you into the story for the rest of the game. There is New Game Plus and the ability to do post-story side missions and collect Riddler trophies.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins has an unmarked point where you go to investigate a corpse in the GCPD Morgue. Once you do this, Firefly attacks the Pioneer's Bridge in an attempt to draw Batman out. This bars off the bridge story-wise and leaves you unable to go there without initiating the climax, as going after Firefly locks you into the endgame. Straight after you've defeated him, you automatically go to the Batcave as Bane has learned Batman's identity and attacked Wayne Manor. After this, Batman heads straight to Blackgate Prison for the final part of the story, where the Joker has begun a prison riot alongside Bane. 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 New Game Plus.
    • Batman: Arkham Knight:
      • Due to its non choice-based Multiple Endings, 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 the Cloudburst covers the streets of Gotham, preventing you from entering buildings at all) acting as a Plot Tunnel. 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 New Game Plus is unlocked. However, due to the ending of the game, the facts that Batman is no longer hallucinating Joker and the world knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman affect Enemy Chatter and indeed the sequences available when you defeat or hear from certain side mission villains, acting almost as Extended Gameplay.
      • The player must finish several more side missions before unlocking the second ending, where 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.
      • Within the game itself, as soon as Batman turns himself in to Scarecrow, there's no getting out of the main story until the end. Unlike the other games, thanks to both the percentage markers you can view in the mission select screen and the fact that Batman has to take off his utility belt to activate the sequence, it's incredibly obvious that the end is coming.
  • The first God of War has a point near the end where the voice of Athena tells you that once you proceed, 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.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • Played With in Ending C: Deathwish. Once you complete the first phase of the final mission, The Third Way, at the foundry, the game autosaves within the mission, effectively locking you into the rest of the mission until it's completed and the credits have rolled. This is more likely a case of Anti-Frustration Features rather than a true point of no return, but should the game be closed after the autosave is carried out, loading up the game places you right where you left off, unable to do any of the other activities available outside of the missions.
    • Some of the safehouses will no longer be accessible upon completing certain story events.
      • After completing the first assassination mission, Franklin moves to a mansion in the upper-class district of Los Santos and can no longer visit his aunt's house or use it as a safehouse - Denise will bar him from entering if he visits, having apparently turned it into a "center for women" during his absence.
      • Trevor can no longer enter Floyd's house after the mission "Hang Ten", since Floyd and his wife Debra are dead and the house is a crime scene. To compensate, Trevor instead moves into the Vanilla Unicorn and uses it as his new safehouse.
  • In Gravity Rush, Gade warns Kat at the start of Episode 20 that, as a Creator, he senses that the end is near, and that she should take care of any remaining business before talking to him again and starting the mission.
  • The 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.
  • The General Ross boss battle in The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction 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 the Hulk breaking out of the Vault and escaping his captors.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, retrieving the MSX 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 it's a one-way trip to the basement where Metal Gear D is being stored.
    • In Metal Gear Solid, inputting the final PAL card. This activates Metal Gear REX, and after escaping the PAL control room, the player will run into Liquid Snake immediately, starting the endgame.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 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 destroys the Big Shell plant and takes Philanthropy deep into Arsenal Gear for the final stages of the story).
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Entering the final stage (corresponding to the Rank 1 Assassin) triggers this instantly. In the other games in the series, you can return to Santa Destroy and do anything at your leisure as well as complete any pending side content; and in the case of the first game, you can choose to play the epilogue battle after you've unlocked it. Since there's no epilogue in the second game, it won't be possible to return to the other places until the New Game Plus.
  • Red Dead Redemption has a couple of strict examples.
    • "The Outlaw's Return" marks the end of the game's primary plot as John Marston finally reunites with his wife Abigail and his son Jack. Completing this mission locks John into his Rancher Outfit, preventing him from changing outfits and locking him out of other outfits' benefits in so doing. The player can still traverse the game's sandbox and pursue sidequests and activities to their heart's content, though.
    • Starting "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed" hurtles the game to its climax. This marks the end of John Marston's story, as the mission ends with John performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save his family from the US Army. Afterwards, the Playable Epilogue begins, with players taking control of an adult Jack Marston.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 can be pretty Polite sometimes. Toward the end of Chapter 6, you find that Dutch's camp is a little less crowded, so talking to Dutch can lock you into "Our Best Selves", which will then segue into the aptly-titled "Red Dead Redemption" upon completion. These are also the last two story missions you'll be able to play as Arthur Morgan, so the game warns you that it will be your last chance to go for the optional Honor missions and build up your Honor meter to maximum if you want the Golden Ending (and get a few more items while you're at it). Once the game is completed, you will head into Playable Epilogue as John Marston, which means that you can return to any place outside of the story missions, allowing you to complete many things you missed as Arthur.
  • Shadows of the Damned 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 New Game Plus, 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.
  • Spider-Man (PS4) provides a Polite example. Right as you arrive at your destination for the final level, the game warns you this is your last chance to upgrade your abilities and find collectibles; otherwise, once you enter the building, you're locked into the climax where Spidey has to face Doctor Octopus. However, you return to the city after the game is complete, allowing you to complete anything you missed at your leisure.
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales warns you that the endgame will begin if you choose to go to the Oscorp Science Center. But this time, upon returning to the game, it unlocks some Post-End Game Content that wasn't available before the final level, encouraging the player to keep going for 100% Completion.

  • Another Code:
    • Two Memories prevents you from backtracking after you enter the lab. This is a negligible Merciful example, where the most that could happen is accidentally missing out on getting a character portrait or two for the relationship chart... in the "Recollection" remake, that is. The original DS game has this as a Nasty example thanks to having Multiple Endings; if you hadn't found all of the optional items or D's memories, then you're locked into the bad ending where your companion is unable to past on to the afterlife.
    • Journey Into Lost Memories prevents further backtracking after entering J.C. Valley, but no version of the game really locks you out of any important, making it Merciful.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed II: At the start of the final Sequence, you are given the option to go to Rome to hunt down Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI. Once you accept, you cannot return to the rest of Italy until you complete it.
    • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: 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 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, you cannot exit the Animus to Monteriggioni any more.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations: While the Animus Island dismantles near the end, watching the credits will 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.
    • Assassin's Creed III: Finding the key at the end of Sequence 12 kicks you back to the real world, where you are forced to activate the planet shield in return for Desmond's death and releasing Juno into the world. However, after the 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 pivot points are placed by other players doing the same thing as you.
  • Beneath a Steel Sky: Entering the subway tunnels 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.
  • The 1997 Blade Runner video game has quite a few of these, generally at the end of each act.
  • The mirror chamber in the final dungeon from Beyond Good & Evil 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 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 your sidekicks that would incorporate both of them.
  • Bugsnax can be interpreted as either Polite or as Merciful as an autosaving game can get depending on your outlook. It's impossible to miss any items necessary for the final mission (even if you Sequence Break, you'll automatically have the tools you should have by a given point) anyway, and the game invokes the trope word for word before you can take the mission that leads to endgame, warning you to get anything done you want to get done (catching all the Bugsnax or optional side missions for each character) before starting it. So what's the difference, especially in a game without any kind of Life Meter or Game Over condition? The other Grumpuses are not as invincible as you are, and this suddenly becomes very relevant. If you haven't completed a given Grumpus's sidequest chain, they won't learn that Bugsnax won't help them with their problems, and will hence fail to resist Bugsnax forcing their way into their mouths. If you only fed them what they needed for the game to continue, they can survive a few; but if you fully Snakified them (likely attempting to invoke Video Game Caring Potential, eating even one Snak will result in them fully and irreversably transforming into Snakmatter and falling apart, always coupled with some very harrowing dialogue. This locks you out of the Golden Ending. However, if this occurs, dialogue options with Filbo (the only one guaranteed to not die) will allow you a chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and re-trigger the final mission whenever you want. If you're very good at the final mission, it's totally possible to knock it out even if you completely Snakified all the townsfolk; but if you're not quite so skilled, you're best off heeding the warning, and lucky to have the option to try again.
  • In The Dog Island, once you decide to go to the Anc World, there's no turning back. Petasi is Polite enough to warn you that you won't be able to leave once you get there, though. Strangely enough, there are accessories that can only be found in the Anc World and the Very Definitely Final Dungeon after it, which might tempt some people to save there.
  • Eastward: Chapter 8 is particularly Nasty. The previous chapter is the last time any shop could be visited, meaning it's the only opportunity to purchase as much supplies and craft helpful food items before venturing into the Final Dungeon.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 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.
  • Near the end of The Journeyman Project 2: Buried In Time, 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 Arthur to mess up her plans, you can't get it back.
  • In Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Toshi's boss fight is an example of this, as proceeding from that point will lock the player out of any collectibles, upgrades, or fast travel for the rest of the game. While Zajuro does warn the player to prepare ahead of time, starting the mission actually unlocks three additional mask missions and allows continued access to the game's world. What makes this a Nasty example rather than a Polite one, however, is that the game's warning is implied for the initial encounter with Toshi, not the next one that leads to the boss fight. Moreover, upon starting the boss fight against Toshi, the player is not warned that beating him will strip Kena of her Rot powers and thus lock the player into the endgame.
  • King's Quest:
    • In King's Quest V, 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 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.
    • King's Quest VI 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.
  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain has a pretty cruel example, which happens after you give Elzevir the Dollmaker's head to King Ottmar, as well as the soul of Ottmar's daughter. Immediately afterwards, the game transitions to a battle sequence in which the Army of Hope and the Army of the Nemesis clash, with the Army of Hope losing badly. Kain then travels fifty years into the past to kill the Nemesis (then known as William the Just), and from this point onward, you cannot transform into bat form and return to the previous areas you visited, even after you travel back to the present, and have to go where the game takes you until the very end of it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: In the final dungeon, you have to use the Silver Arrow to defeat Ganon. It is perfectly possible to blunder into the boss fight with him before you obtain this item, and the door locks behind you. All you can do at that point is let Ganon kill you so you can start the level over to find the arrow. If you're at full health, this can actually take at least half a minute of letting yourself get hit by fireballs.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Once you've removed the barrier and descended down into the Great Palace, you're locked in until you either beat the game or get a Game Over. Trying to go back up again and leave the final dungeon reveals that the barrier has reappeared, and you cannot dispel it from the inside.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Ganondorf battle. 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  prevented that problem by restarting at the entrance of Ganon's Tower regardless of where and when you save.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: After the Puppet Ganon battle. If the player ascends up the rope and through the doorway on the upper area, they are locked into the game's finale.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: You're unable to return once you enter the boss room in Hyrule Castle. First, you deal with a gauntlet of rooms, in which you cannot go back and is timed. Second, once you defeat Vaati, you are given the option to escape, but various areas are blocked to trigger the final fight.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Happens once you enter the boss room in Hyrule Castle. Upon defeating the Dark Beast Ganon form, Midna teleports both you and Zelda back to Hyrule Field. You could try going elsewhere, except there are 2 problems here: Ganondorf defeated Midna, so you can no longer warp, and Ganondorf blocked the entrance ways to other locations via Twilight walls. Looks like you've got no choice but to defeat him.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: Subverted. 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.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Link's companion 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. This game is also very nice about its usage of Point of No Return.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, after entering the Sanctum of Hyrule Castle, you can neither leave nor save. In any other game, being unable to leave the Final Boss room wouldn't be notable, but this one has established that you normally can use your Warp Whistle at any time, even during boss fights.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the precipice in the depths of Hyrule Castle where you first found Ganondorf serves as this. Once you jump off that and then another precipice, you fight an army of mooks, then a landslide blocks off the way back and you have to face the endgame and the Demon King, with no breaks in between and no ability to save or teleport.
  • Little Big Adventure 2: After landing on Zeelich for the second time, there's no way of going back to Twinsun.
  • Luigi's Mansion 3 is strict: Before going through the door that leads to the rooftop in Hellen Gravely's office, Luigi receives a call from E. Gadd, who asks if he is ready to continue going. If the player says yes, Luigi won't be able to re-enter the previous areas — however, the game creates a secondary auto-save right before they do.
  • Maniac Mansion has a fairly soft one, which comes when you get past the Purple Tentacle and gain access to Dr. Fred's lab, causing him to activate the self-destruct sequence. Once this happens, either you defeat the Meteor, or the house explodes, leading to a Game Over. The "New Kid" command and the ability to save the game are disabled in the lab; trying results in the line, "The Meteor has control of your computer and he won't let you save the game". Fortunately, most of the game's completion paths do warn you that there'll be no going back when you gain access to the lab.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus requires you to return straight to your ship after defeating the Queen Metroid. No backtracking for power-ups.
    • Metroid: Samus Returns: Breaking into the Queen Metroid's chamber is still this, 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. 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; for this same reason, the original entrance you went through at the start of the game is sealed off.
    • Super Metroid: Entering the area containing a Torizo husk which is the room right before the one with the baby Metroid will prevent you from returning to previous areas and utilizing the final savepoint will permanently lock the player from doing anything outside of fighting the final boss.
    • Metroid Fusion 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 100% Completion, 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.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption does this before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Its method of forcing this on you is rather unique, though: 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.
  • Each entry in the Monkey Island series (barring Tales of Monkey Island, due to its episodic nature) has one of these; by the point you actually get to it, there's usually nothing of any real importance left to do in the game (or that part of it), but you can still usually interact with the world and characters in various ways:
    • In The Secret of Monkey Island, the point comes when you collect the voodoo root in LeChuck's ship. After that, the game forces you into a strictly linear path, unless you let LeChuck punch you around Melee Island at the very end of the game.
    • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge actually has two. The main one comes when you ship yourself to LeChuck's fortress, which cuts off access to the three islands that make up most of the game. You do get some limited ability to explore Dinky Island in the final chapter, but once you blast open the hole leading to Big Whoop, you're forced into the final confrontation with LeChuck, with no turning back.
    • The Curse of Monkey Island, this comes when you put the Goodsoup family ring on Elaine's finger, thus lifting the titular curse. There are two more chapters in the game, after this, but they're both short and linear.
    • Escape from Monkey Island has the most generous example of this in the series; when you activate the giant monkey robot on Monkey Island, all that's left to do in the game is a fairly easy puzzle and then a short boss fight with LeChuck.
    • In Return to Monkey Island, this comes when you collect the last of the five golden keys, after which you're automatically returned to Melee Island for a short sequence, and then return to Monkey Island once again for the finale.
  • Neverwinter Nights:
    • The original game has one of these, and frustratingly doesn't let you know until after you've entered the door. The expansion Hordes of the Underdark has several. Among other things, in chapter 3, you're given five quests, but the Big Bad attacks after you've completed any four, with barely any forewarning. What, were you hoping to complete the fifth quest? Too bad.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2 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 the siege of Crossroad Keep propels the player into the endgame sequence.
  • Ōkami: before entering the Ark of Yamato, 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 New Game Plus.
  • Ōkamiden: The Point of No Return is falling through the trap door in the Moon Cave 100 years in the past. The worst part is that there's only one save file.
  • Primordia (2012):
    • At the end of the first segment, once Horatio and Crispin enter the train station, the train to Metropol arrives immediately, and the Adventure Duo 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 Multiple Endings. Potentially, you can miss a chance to 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 Clarity — or what's left of her — is right there in the last room.
  • In Rex Nebular And The Cosmic Gender Bender, the flooding of the city which you've been exploring is understandably a point of no return. Depending on the difficulty level, the game would warn you of this to varying degrees. 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.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, on the way to the last colossus, Wander's horse falls into a ravine, stranding you on one side of a gap.
  • The Eye of Eden in Sky: Children of the Light has what appears to be two of these, both Polite-class instances, since the game auto-saves by default; one at the beginning, warning of the dangers within, and one after a cave guarded by the final Dark Dragon. The latter essentially tells you you're inevitably going to kick the bucket, so it's just a matter of how far. Interestingly enough, the first point is just a disclaimer disguised as this, since you can still return Home as long as you haven't hit the second point. Once you hit number two, however, not even restarting the game will let you into any of the other realms until you clear Orbit, the zone that follows.
  • Your acquisition of the Krazoa Spirit in the Walled City shrine in Star Fox Adventures is a Nasty point of no return, as 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 Final Boss. If you didn't know about that and saved after the point, you're boned.
  • In 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. Justified since the Big Bad shows up and aims the five cannons of his huge space fortress into the planets.
  • Tick Tock Isle: The twins warn you that their fourth minigame is this. After you win it, their older brother with the Angry Guard Dog confronts the protagonist, the protagonist discovers how to set the year in the time machine and you reach the Playable Epilogue.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) and its sequels Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider warn you explicitly about their point of no returns. You can save and backtrack how much you want before engaging the ending.
  • Tombs & Treasure has a particularly cruel example inside of the Ball Court. Right inside of the front door, you see a stone pawl holding some gears in place, with no clear idea of its purpose. Taking the pawl causes a stone slab to drop down, blocking further exploration, so if you don't get everything inside that you needed to, you're screwed. Later on, you end up locked inside of the room with the final boss, and if you didn't bring a means of reviving the professor's daughter with you, all you can do is reset.
  • Zniw Adventure: Just before you enter the chief's apartment, Agu warns Zniw that once they enter, there's no turning back. This indicates to the player that they won't be able to leave the apartment, and that the end of the game is near.

    Alternate Reality 
  • Play Station Home 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.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Atomic Heart has several, most of which are explicitly marked with a dialogue prompt which allows you to put off moving to the next area and pick up any collectibles you missed. Going to meet with Filatova after leaving the Pavlov Complex, which forfeits your ability to explore the open world and Polygon testing grounds for the rest of your playthrough, is less obvious as it's marked solely by a one-way drop leading to the Dewdrop boss fight, but you can simply load an earlier save or select "Return to Facility 3826" in the main menu after completing the game if you want to go back.
  • The Little Sister Escort Mission in BioShock is a completely unmarked point of no return and you're not told this until after you're given health and ammo refills.
  • Once the player reaches the prison in Dead Island, 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.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution:
    • 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.
  • Doom Eternal has a Polite example of this: right after raging your way through the fallen ruins of Argent D'Nur, your next stop is Urdak, the homeworld of the Makyr that no human nor Sentinel were ever able to access. Samuel Hayden, your Mission Control turned Sapient Ship warns you that you cannot return from the mission once you go to Nekravol and start the journey to Urdak, but allows you to get or do whatever you need first.
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry 2 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.
    • Far Cry 3 features a Polite one near the end of the story. Just before the mission to assassinate 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.
  • Left 4 Dead 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 catching a survivor on the wrong side of one a strategy for infected players to use in VS mode.
  • In Postal 2, 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, so you'd be best off exploring at the start of a day rather than trying to save it for the end.
  • Quake II allows you to move freely between levels in one of the several "units" (hubs) making up the bulk of the game, but once you pass through the exit of a unit, you cannot return (and the first time the game would warn you about this). Also, the teleporter in the Upper Palace is a more definitive Point Of No Return — once you pass through it, you go to the final boss arena on Stroggos' moon and can't come back. Unlike in earlier id Software shooters, this can be a problem because the hub-based level structure makes it easier to stockpile items for use later.
  • System Shock 2's has two Points of No Return. The first appears when entering the cryo recovery area, meant to prevent the player from using the first recharge station and instead go through a combat area; knowledgeable players could drop an item to block the door as it closes. The second is when the player enters the Body of the Many, before then the player is free to backtrack to the starting areas for any final items to collect.
  • Turok: Dinosaur Hunter has Level 8, The Final Confrontation. Once you get the keys to the level and you enter that portal, you cannot ever return to the Hub Ruins. If you did not collect all of the weapons at that point nor refill on ammo, you won't retrieve most of them until after you defeat Thunder T-Rex. If you have not collected the 7 Chronoscepter pieces per level, you will have missed out on the Chronoscepter, making the Final Boss fight against The Campaigner much, much more difficult.
  • In an interesting take, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, once you complete it, resets and transports you to the front of Level 6's portal. Because of the reset, the portal key doors are locked, meaning you are locked in Level 6 permanently. Of course, the game encourages you to use cheats at this point.
  • 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.
  • In Red Faction, progressing to certain areas will prevent you from returning to previous ones.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Devil May Cry: Once you leave the castle, the drawbridge you lowered will automatically raise back up, meaning any secret missions or blue orb fragments you failed to find are now out of your reach, since the castle's layout changes completely after you return.
  • Gauntlet: Legends does this twice:
    • When you have all 4 keys from bosses, you automatically go to the Temple of Skorne, not giving you a chance to select any of the 4 areas. The only way to go back to the stage select is to not accomplish the 12 rune stones after completion or game over.
    • When you defeat Skorne at his Alter and you have collected all 12 rune stones, you automatically continue to go the underworld. The only way to go back to the stage select is to complete or game over.
  • Several levels in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy are divided into sublevels. Miss an item before you step on the transporter/go through the gate, and hopefully you didn't really need it. The game normally warns you, but misses the Polite subcategory thanks to no save points within a level (you can always replay the level, though).

    Idle Game 
  • The Communitree: Happens a lot. Buy a next progress stage? You're not going back to see the previous one again unless you keep an exported save handy.
    • Buying the "Simplify things a bit" upgrade in the Aarex layer makes most upgrades and features from the Jacorb layer inaccessible, in exchange for easily letting you claim phantom souls and providing an insane boost to point gain based on time spent in the Jacorb reset.
    • Performing an Acamaeda reset renders the Aarex Dimensions minigame and all its upgrades inaccessible.
    • Buying the Modding tree tab fully replaces the Candy tab in the Acamaeda layer.
    • Finishing a modder's section will render their layer inaccessible, as it soon gets replaced with another one.
  • The Prestreestuck:
    • After moving beyond the ring, you can no longer click on the nodes related to aspects or see the original Skaia node parts (you wouldn't really have a reason though, except maybe to see what the upgrade names were again).
    • After buying the "INFLATE" upgrade, you can no longer click on the nodes related to the previous layers or the Skaia node, as the latter's now the Meta layer.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 2: After the first five boards are played in full for the first time, Toad will be kidnapped by Bowser and his minions, and subsequently replaced by a Koopa Kid. The latter won't let the player return to any of the boards, and will persuade them to go to Bowser Land. It is still possible to go to Mini-Game Land the settings lab, though. After Bowser Land is played in full (which ends with the Superstar defeating Bowser for good) and the game's credits roll, it'll be possible to choose any board in the next party session again.

  • The Blaster Master Zero trilogy has a hard point of no return right after defeating the Final Boss; this doesn't apply if you don't qualify for the True Ending, as the game ends shortly after that fight, but if you do, you get locked into the fight and the true final area. All of these are linked to the story.
    • The first game is merciful in that you cannot qualify for the true ending unless you collected every item in the other eight areas. If you do that then beat the Area 8 boss, you're sent to Area 9 and aren't leaving until you beat the game and unlock New Game Plus. The other boss Invem are interfering in the search for the Mutant Core, which is in Earth's super-dimensional space, and Eve's plan to save Earth from it won't work out with SOPHIA III alone.
    • The second game requires you to complete a few tasks to get the necessary items to qualify for the true ending. You get them from helping the other MA pilots with their personal obligations, and you need their help saving Jason from Drolrevo.
    • The third game requires you to defy Kane's advice and spend a good amount of time in super-dimensional space (you're good if you check your inventory and see two rings instead of one) and hit the VRV command input during the ending. Eve's destiny of becoming the new Invem Queen cannot be averted, but Jason can go with her, which requires casting aside his humanity and acclimating to super-dimensional space.
  • Cave Story has the Final Boss Bonanza on the Balcony; 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 Brutal Bonus Level and fighting Ballos to get the Golden Ending. There's also a save point after this, which if you save there, you're completely stuck.
  • In Commander Keen 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.
  • Killing all guards in the entrance of the Federal Reserve Bank in Conker's Bad Fur Day 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.
  • In the final level of the DS version of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter, once you reach Wilfre, you're unable to quit the level or do anything else on the pause menu (not even edit your hero or their weapons or forms) except resume the game.
  • When you go to Tomorrow City for the second time in Epic Mickey, you can't go back to 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.
  • Impossamole (the TurboGrafx-16 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.
  • In Jak 3, you reach the Point of No Return when you meet up with Damas 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.
  • When you fight Zero Two at the very end of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, the option to leave the level is replaced with an option called "Tough it out!", which is functionally identical to the "Continue" option. This is a Merciful example, as 100% Completion note  is required to fight the boss.
  • The early Mega Man (Classic) 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.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest has a Polite point of no return when entering Mount Horu, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. The dungeon areas also have Tough points of no return once you begin their escape sequences, and you can't go back to get any items you missed afterwards. Both of these were removed in the Definitive Edition, and you are free to backtrack anywhere at any time, except during escape sequences.
  • Prince of Persia 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. Make sure you don't miss anything! Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004) is a frustrating example, bordering on Cruel. It is impossible to access the Golden Ending to the game without getting all nine life upgrades for the Water Sword. These upgrades are hidden in obscure corners of the temple, all in the Past, so it is very difficult to find and obtain them. In addition, the player is never given any indication that these upgrades exist, and therefore doesn't know exactly how many there are. The player gets at least two opportunities to collect each one, but once you miss a single piece, there is no going back, and you must face the bad ending.
  • Psychonauts has what an in-game prompt labels an "Point of No Return" near the end of the game immediately after you free Lili. Luckily, it's saved as a separate file, just in case you weren't totally ready to sneeze your own brain out and enter a creepy mishmash of yours and the bad guy's childhood fears. Although real-world locations are no longer available for you to explore, and anything left behind there is lost, you can still go to other mental worlds via the Collective Unconscious. In the final mental realm, there's a booth that allows you to convert Cobwebs to Psi Cards and Psi Cards into Challenge Markers. In addition, loading said autosave will take you back to the point right before you free Lili, making this a Strict example rather than a Cruel one.
  • Psychonauts 2 has two, both of the Polite kind. The first is once you get to the final Ford Mental World, as completing it leads into the third act of the game, where Raz in the real world is confined to Green Needle Gulch, barring him from going back to the earlier hub areas (although, much like the first game, you can still re-visit earlier Mental Worlds using the Brain Tumbler). The second is after you repair the Astralathe; switching it on locks you into the final two (three if you count the Final Boss) Mental Worlds, broken up by two very linear real-world sections. On both occasions, a warning pops up explicitly telling the player that this is a Point of No Return. Fortunately, unlike the first game, you can keep playing after completing the story, allowing you to go back and collect anything you've missed (and it's actually impossible to collect everything before beating the story, as several collectibles in the earlier hub areas can only be found using a power you only get after passing the first Point of No Return).
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • The final level of Ratchet: Deadlocked involves a Point Of No Return when you attempt to infiltrate the heart of DreadZone Station to confront 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 the entire place explodes because Gleeman laced it with '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 New Game Plus 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.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart features a Polite example. Towards the end the game, at Zurkie's, approaching Captain Quantam and talking to him will trigger a warning prompt saying that "this is your last chance to acquire armor and collectibles" and giving you a buttom prompt asking if you're sure you want to start the endgame.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • 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. Sonic the Hedgehog CD used a sign before the goal posts to mark the point in which this happens.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, Chip warns you that once you go into 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.
    • Sonic Frontiers has a mildly Tough variant: once you collect the sixth Chaos Emerald on Ouranos Island, Dr. Eggman will give you the seventh and final Chaos Emerald needed to fight the boss. From there, you will proceed immediately to the final boss fights.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Odyssey: Played with. After leaving the Wackyland known as the Luncheon Kingdom, you're intercepted by Bowser again, which begins a portion of the game where you cannot return to any prior kingdom until you land on the Moon Kingdom. After defeating the Ruined Dragon, you head straight to Bowser's Kingdom, and throwing Cappy on the Odyssey's globe will simply have him say "Let's hurry after those two!" and pop back off. Upon defeating the RoboBrood and fixing the Odyssey, you're taken to the world map, but can only select the Moon Kingdom; Cappy will tell you "Let's hurry on ahead!" if you try any other option. However, upon landing in the Moon Kingdom itself, Cappy will only say "But... Bowser! HERE!" if you try to leave, but ultimately he'll relent and ask if you need to do stuff in other kingdoms.
    • Super Mario Maker 2: In Story Mode, once the rebuild of the castle is almost complete, Bowser (in his Meowser form) will kidnap Chief Toadette and the only level available in the job list is the one where she is held captive, and to rescue her it'll be necessary to win the Final Boss battle against Meowser himself. After the rescue, the castle's rebuild process is complete and the credits roll, after which all available levels are selectable again (and a few more can also be unlocked as part of the Playable Epilogue).
  • In 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.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In The 7th Guest, once you enter the Attic, there's no going back down.
  • Once you assemble the gear in Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, you cannot return to any other areas and do their optional puzzles. Although completing the game lets you play any puzzles you missed in a "free play" mode, so it's not a big deal.
  • In Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, 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. After you beat the game 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.
  • Near the end of Riven, once you release Catherine, she Links to Gehn's Age and sabotages 4 of the 5 books leading to Riven's islands, railroading you towards Temple Island at the start. Similarly, all the bridges and trams leading off the island are disabled when you get there.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • A mild example of a "tough" Point of No Return in Evil Genius. 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 StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 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, 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.
  • A Polite type that quickly becomes Nasty in most of the games made by Paradox Interactive: If you want the achievements, you'll have to set the game to 'ironman-mode,' which disables manual saves. In the initial settings it's polite enough to tell you this, but then you have to go and play the game with no ability to save before making game changing decisions, correct any mistakes or use the console controls. Or in essence, the point of no return is hitting the 'start game' button.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, being teleported to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon leaves you with no option to go back, although you're more or less explicitly warned about this beforehand and are given more than enough time to prepare (unless you kill the person who teleports you).
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage: The interdimensional portal from the titular Wizarding School to the Kyranian Wastelands is a one-way trip, even though the Kyranian side stays open and all the other portal gates in the Wastelands can be used repeatedly.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • A few are displayed in the first game. 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, and even then you will enter in a different scenario with other characters and things to do. Another instance occurs in that Chapter 6 when you go to the top floor of the inner keep, where 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.
    • When you enter the Temple of Bhaal in the last chapter you cannot leave anymore and you are forced to proceed, meet Sarevok and fight him to end the game.
    • In Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear each new chapter moves the expedition in a different area and all the previous locations cannot be reached anymore.
    • In Baldur's Gate II, you could back out of the final locations right up until you engaged Irenicus in battle. After that, you were limited to defeating him, 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 Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, after you defeat all the side challenges in the pocket plane, you will be asked if you want to directly proceed to the final level against the Big Bad or continue to travel in the other areas until you are ready.
    • Baldur's Gate III straddles the line between Polite and Tough, as the game will typically advise that you're certain that you've finished everything you want to in the areas you've explored before entering a new area that would typically begin the next act of the game's story (as well as warning you if you're underleveled for what is to come). These points include entering the Shadow-cursed Lands or taking the Mountain Pass at the beginning of Act 2 (which still gives you leeway to finish some content in Act 1), entering the Nightsong's Prison (closes off Act 1's content and most of Act 2's incompleted questlines), leaving the Shadow-cursed Lands for Baldur's Gate (closes off Act 2's content), and departing for the Netherbrain's Morphic Pool (locks you into the final battle).
  • In 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 New Game Plus 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.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • The game prompts you to change discs when entering Alfard. So far so good; then the plot happens soon after and you board the Goldoba. The Goldoba is a relatively short dungeon, all things considered, but is home to one of the nastiest battles in the game against Giacomo, Folon and Ayme. There's a save point before the room, but it's a red flower. 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 another 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 Disc-One Final Dungeon and your approaching the continent seemed normal. After a few cutscenes, your ship crash-lands and you have to fight the Holoholobird, who also doubles as a Flunky Boss. You can't go back and grind or get new items, because the fight is immediately after the disk switch. Many a player has been forced to restart their game to get around this. And while the Holoholobird is what most players remember—for good reason—there is also the fact that you can't leave the continent you crashed on until you've repaired your ship, which only happens at the end of that island's story arc.
  • Bloodborne has the phase change triggers- entering Oedon Chapel (Evening Phase), inspecting the beast skull on the Cathedral altar (Night Phase), defeating Rom (Blood Moon phase), and defeating Mergo's Wet Nurse (Hunter's Workshop on fire). After each checkpoint is reached, the state of Yharnam will change, cutting you off from certain opportunities; for example, you can't get Iosefka's Blood Vials after entering the chapel because she's replaced by an impostor, and the player must help Eileen defeat Henryk after Evening but before triggering the Night phase. It's more or less in the Tough range: The game doesn't warn you when you are about to pass/have passed a point of no return, and it autosaves every few seconds so there's no going back and every decision is permanent. But you never lose access to the Hunter's Dream and the item stores, so it's not as bad as it could be.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has one in Chapter 7, when you board the airship to chase down the Wayback Machine. Thankfully, the game informs you of this at the time, so you're free to back out and do anything you may have missed. You also can't revisit Wikipedia after Chapter 3, since it gets destroyed by STORM. That one you're not warned about.
  • The Brief and Meaningless Adventure of Hero Man: The cave, the Sign Maker's basement, and the Tower all lock the player in upon entering. Once the player reaches the teleporter to the Crossroads, they can no longer return to any of the starting dungeon. Once they grab the final "hero" equipment from Lord Doldrum's castle, they are locked into the very last few maps of the game. Only the Sign Maker's basement provides a warning message:
    With the door open, Hero Man suspects he might not be able to come back here if he goes much further. [pause for button press] It's now or never!
  • Child of Light 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 Final Boss battle following a long cutscene. Between these battles, you won't have a chance to swap out your party's Oculi, so make sure you're properly equipped beforehand.
  • The inside of Lavos in Chrono Trigger 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 Boss Rush, but once that's over, you have an option to go back just before the Final Boss. Crash into Lavos with the Epoch, and you'll 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.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 features a Polite version, with the game explicitly warning you when you approach the Embers club in Act 3 that entering will forfeit the unfinished side content for the rest of the playthrough.
  • Deltarune:
    • Chapter 2 goes straight into "Cruel" territory - once you leave Cyber World, you can never go back in there, and the superboss in particular will be permanently locked out. Ralsei will outright tell you to save in New Castle Town after this. The game does at least allow for multiple saves, unlike its predecessor, but it still caught a lot of players off guard. In response, an update added a reminder the first time you examine the save point, nudging it back to "Polite".
    • If you attempt to follow the Weird Route, diverging from its meticulously specific requirements at any point will put you right back on the main story's path with no way to get back on it. However, if you direct Noelle to kill Berdly, you are locked into this path for the rest of the game with no way to return to the main route.
  • In Disco Elysium this happens with you reach a point in the investigation where you have no other option than to meet with Ruby to advance the case. After this point, the game continues, and while you can still complete a select few side-quests, many are blocked off from the fact that you lose access to many locations and people. The game, however, is very polite about it, warning you in advance that this is the case, even telling you what hanging quest-lines in your log that are going to be affected by the cut-off point, so you can complete them before you head on.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II has the "polite" variety at the end of each Act, where the player has the option to set sail to the next Act and is reminded that they won't be able to return after they do so. They can always say they need more time to finish their business before they go.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has multiple points of no return.
      • The first point is a slightly "nasty" example, as it isn't fully obvious for first-time players. Securing the help of one of the factions (the Circle of Magi, the Dalish Elves, Orzammar, or Redcliffe) for the war against the Blight seals off the town of Lothering, which, storywise, has been overrun by the darkspawn.
      • When you go to the Circle of Magi and agree to enter the tower to destroy the rampaging Abominations inside, Knight-Commander Greagoir warns you that he and his Templars will bar the doors behind you once you enter, forcing you to complete the quest line. If you go to the Circle for allies first (or go there to ask for the Mages' help to save Connor without sacrificing Isolde), this can coincidentally become a "polite" PONR for Lothering as well, as once you complete the "Broken Circle" quest, Lothering will be gone.
      • The first endgame PONR is also a mildly "nasty" scenario. After completing the Landsmeet and deciding Loghain's fate, some quests and locations become unavailable, especially for Redcliffe. It would be inadvisable to go to the Royal Palace if you have some unfinished business there, as the darkspawn attack Redcliffe Village after the Landsmeet is settled. In fact, Redcliffe becomes the entry point for the second and final PONR of the story; deciding to enter Redcliffe Castle and learning that the Archdemon is leading the darkspawn horde to Denerim is what ultimately sets you on the one-way path to the final battle. The second PONR is somewhere between "polite" and "tough"; mostly tough because no one explicitly warns you that there is no turning back, but there are supplies and shops to be accessed after crossing it. The only vestige of this being "polite" is that the Warden has the choice to tell the castle guard that you're either ready to be taken inside, or you need to prepare.
    • In the Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening 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 wait until you're ready.
    • Dragon Age II 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 by Bartrand 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. Take caution when reading the letter which gives you the third and final main quest in this act, as once you do, going to the Gallows instantly triggers the endgame. Funny enough, checking your journal entry for this quest will inform you to prepare before going to the Gallows.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has the Trespasser DLC, weirdly. The base game will let you do every quest after beating the main 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.
  • Dragon's Dogma zig-zags this, depending on the specific quests. All sidequests that you take on will be automatically failed once the story progresses beyond certain points. Sometimes, this isn't readily apparent (the sidequest "Lost and Found" will be automatically failed after completing the main quest "Lure of the Abyss", potentially causing Quina to be lost). Other times, you are given fair warning (before meeting Duke Edmun, you are warned that any Wyrm Hunt quests you haven't completed will be left to others, since meeting with the Duke requires you to turn in your Wyrm Hunt license).
  • Dragonslayer:Legend of Heroes has an example which can be Nasty if you're not careful. Chapter 3 begins with you going to Norland, and if you don't buy any Warp Wings before leaving on the ship, you're screwed since there's no other way to return to the main continent for a long time after. If you don't have Warp Wings you'll miss out on the following: the strongest equipment (it's only available in the city you start from, and you probably only have enough gold to equip one of your party members), upgrading Sonia's weak spellbook, learning Fire 3, and learning Cure 3 (which is technically available late in Chapter 2, but you may have missed it.)
  • Elden Ring: Completing Crumbling Farum Azula and killing the boss Malekith, the Black Blade will lead to the Erdtree burning and turning Leyndell, Royal Capital into Leyndell, Ashen Capital. The rest of the world will be unaffected, but you'd better have done absolutely everything you want done in Leyndell beforehand, because all items and enemies from the Royal Capital are no longer present in the Ashen Capital.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The last dungeon in Daggerfall, the Mantellan Crux, is a "Tough" version. 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.)
    • Morrowind:
      • It is recommended that you make several forays into Red Mountain, clearing out and looting the Ash Vampire citadels first, then returning to heal. It isn't until you are in the Heart Chamber with Dagoth Ur himself that you can't back out.
      • The Tribunal expansion has the "Polite" version. 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, 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 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.
    • Skyrim: Entering the Skuldafn temple near the end of the main quest storyline. The only way to get there is by riding a dragon, and he tells you he can't stay there. You'll only be able to return to the mainland of Skyrim after defeating Alduin in Sovngarde (and players who intend to achieve 100% Completion are advised to get the Shout skill and Dragon Mask before clearing the temple, as it doubles as a One-Time Dungeon).
  • In Endless Frontier, you can neither save nor leave after 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, Koma comes with you, giving you access to both a shop and a means of free healing.
  • The Fable series have several of these, and the player is usually explicitly warned about them, such as 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 Fable, and going to the Tattered Spire and then again later when meeting with Reaver in Fable II. But then there is the infamous Day 121 in Fable III, after which the game progresses immediately to the endgame with hardly any warning, and if you haven't put enough money into your treasury by that point, you're doomed to the bad ending unless you turn around and walk into the fog, which sends you back to day 121.
  • Fallout:
    • 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.
    • Fallout: New Vegas 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 Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas 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 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 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 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 walls, 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 Plot Tunnel in the very first quest, when the door locks behind you upon entering the west wing of Calvert Mansion, and you face several Inescapable Ambushes by Tribals. You better have picked up the ammunition and stimpaks beforehand.
    • Dead Money has two: entering the Sierra Madre Casino, and 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • New Vegas features an In-Universe point of no return, mentioned by Ulysses. He describes the Big Empty as being so remote in the desert that there is no turning back. Once you're on the way to the Big Empty by foot, you come across a point where you have to reach it or you'll die of thirst or exposure.
  • In the Final Fantasy series, the point of no return tends to be at the last save point in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • For the original release of Final Fantasy, it's when you examine the orb in the Temple of Chaos once the 4 Crystals are lit... unless you have the Exit Spell. Later releases made it a two-way road.
    • In Final Fantasy III, 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.
    • Final Fantasy V technically has 2. The first one has you go to World 2 (Galuf's World) and you cannot return to World 1 (Bartz's World). The second one, after completing Exdeath's Castle, merges both worlds into one; while they are merged, there are many noticeable differences due to the void's power sucking up various areas in the game.
    • Final Fantasy VI have this after the Disc One Final Dungeons. The World Of Ruin is permanent, so going back to World Of Balance is impossible.
    • In Final Fantasy VII:
      • Disc 1 has a minor one: 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 Limit Break, you're gonna have to do it before entering the temple.
      • 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.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, 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 Ultimecia's throne room; passing this point and entering her throne room begins the very long Final Boss battle.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, you cannot return from 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 the previous game). The game is merciful enough to warn you of this fact.
    • In Final Fantasy X, 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 Final Boss anyhow.
    • In Crisis Core, the end of the eighth chapter is the point of no return. Better unlock the missions that need to be found in Midgar first, for you're never coming back past this point.
    • Final Fantasy XII 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 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.
    • Downplayed in Final Fantasy XIV: being an MMORPG, its content is repeatable to the player's content. Rather, the game will warn players when they are about to start viewing a particularly long sequence of cutscenes, typically in the endgame, and asks players to set aside adequate time to view the cutscenes before proceeding.
    • In a rather interesting case, the much more open world of Final Fantasy XV throws a Point of No Return message at the end of what seems to be every other chapter, though often, it's just a temporary Plot Tunnel, which after completed, allows you once again, free-roam of the world. 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. Some areas, mainly those in the linear Plot Tunnel later in the game, can only be accessed during the chapters they appear in and any items or quests passed over before leaving will be lost until the players start a new game.
    • Final Fantasy XVI has a Polite example at the end of the second act. When you attempt to depart for Drake's Head, the game warns you that the story has reached a pivotal moment. Upon completing the chapter, the story skips ahead five years and all sidequests not completed are lost for that playthrough.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has a few minor points of no return, where the player is locked into a set of battles with no way to return to the world map until they're all completed, but it also has a true point of no return: once the player enters Orbonne Monastery when it becomes an objective in chapter 4, they're locked in until the end of the game. It's a very nasty example as well, as it doesn't give you any warning that the trip is one-way only, and since you can save between each of the battles in this final gauntlet, you can screw yourself out of several sidequests and optional characters.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance plays with this a lot. The game offers you a save at Ambervale - and you can't take on the final boss unless you save. Then when you do save, initially nothing happens, but then as soon as you try to do anything, the final boss fight starts (and you will get wiped if you're underleveled). A nasty example? Luckily, the game has your back; should you reload the save you just made, you can walk out of Ambervale just fine (and will in fact have to walk out and back in to make another attempt at the final boss). So, despite appearances (and what the game wants you to think), this is actually strict.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake
      • There are several points where the game will tell you, either directly or through the characters ("We probably won't be coming back here for a while"), that you're at a PoNR and gives you the chance to go back and do sidequests. Most prominently, this happens while Cloud is doing odd jobs in Sector 7 and just before you storm the Shinra Building. This is subverted once you complete the game, however; you unlock the Chapter Select function, letting you go back to any point in the game and get anything you missed.
      • This also happens in a meta sense at the end of the game. A theme of the game as a whole is "destiny", as seen by the Arbiters of Fate who do everything in their power to ensure that events play out as they did in the 1997 original. Then Sephiroth shows up in person at the edge of Midgar, and the Whispers lose it. When he challenges Cloud to a final showdown, Aerith warns the others that this is their Point of No Return; they can either follow the "destiny" ordained for them by the Planet, or forge their own path through "endless, horrifying freedom". The characters decide to go fight Sephiroth, signifying that Remake will be doing more than just retracing the exact plot of the original game.
    • Final Fantasy Legend III: The Talon allows you to freely travel between the past, present, and future once you collect the appropriate units. However, once you use the X-Plane unit to travel to the Pureland, there's no going back; the unit breaks down (along with the Hover unit that allowed you to fly over water). Technically you do return at the end of the game, but only in a cutscene. Fortunately, there's nothing in the regular world that you actually need; the Pureland is full of much better equipment (although there are some situationally useful items and spells that you might have missed).
  • Girlfriend Rescue: All the stages end once the boss is defeated, locking out the financial reward for clearing them of every enemy if not done before, but the boss room of Stage 7, the Stadium, is special. That soccer pitch can't be exited upon entering.
  • Golden Sun:
    • In Golden Sun you can save during the scene after you beat the final boss, which prevents you from doing anything else in the game. If you want to proceed with a continued game to the second game with all your djinn and important equipment, make sure you do that first; this can be averted if you decide to use a password that contains the items and djinn needed. The second game does not allow you to save once you reach the top of Mars Lighthouse.
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn drew much criticism for having sixnote  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 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 playing Arangoa Prelude dives all the way down to Cruel insofar as you aren't aware that you're closing off all of Morgal until you come upon the 5th PNR soon thereafter (where you can only do things in Belinsk and can't leave the city except by ship, which constitutes the 6th and final PNR.
  • Gothic II: Sailing to the 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.
  • The first 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.
  • Lots, since But Thou Must! is a major theme of The Halloween Hack: entering the Winters sewers, entering the World of Doom, entering Dr. Andonuts' lab, entering Magicant, and finally, entering the final area beyond Fake Twoson.
  • In Haven (2020), the PONR is when you fully repair the Nest and fly it to the peak of the volcano that serves as the Final Dungeon. Fortunately, a patch to the game has it make a backup save at this point.
  • In Icewind Dale, one point of no return occurs when you leave on the expedition with Hrothgar, as Ice giants attack, blocking the way back. Another occurs when You go off to face Poquelin/Belhifet at the bottom of the Temple of Tempus.
  • There are three points of no return in Illusion of Gaia: 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 escaping its dungeon.
  • In Jade Cocoon, there is no warning that after completing the Moth Forrest you're cut off from any previous areas in the game.
  • Journey On:
    • Once the party passes through the cave-in minigame in the Temple of Elendia, there's no way to return to that dungeon or the village of Keld.
    • Once the party chooses to enter the Abyss and defeat Cerberus, they are stuck in the Abyss for the rest of the game.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • I has Final Rest in End of the World, which contains the game's last save point. When you try opening the door there, the game gives you one final warning to emphasize this trope. The second time you try, there's no going back as it immediately opens and transports you to the remnants of Destiny Islands where Ansem the Final Boss waits.
    • Chain of Memories has the Unknown Room in Castle Oblivion, the site of the last save point. The location differs between scenarios: in Sora's story, it is the last room, while in Riku's, it is the first (although since Riku's Castle Oblivion is significantly abridged compared to Sora's, you don't have to trek far to reach the final boss, and a Moment's Reprieve can be created right before the room leading to the final boss, allowing the player to still be able to save right before it).
    • II: Pictured above, the last free area is atop the highest tower of the castle in The World That Never Was. The Big Door leading to Kingdom Hearts is where you battle Xemnas for the final time.
    • 358/2 Days: Day 357 is the last time you can explore the game freely. Checking the train station in Twilight Town prompts you for the fight against the Final Boss Xion. Once you defeat her, a cutscene follows, after which comes the Post-Final Boss, Riku, in The World That Never Was.
    • Birth By Sleep notably doesn't warn the player, 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 Final Boss 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 True Final Boss 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 superboss will prevent you from accessing 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...
    • Dream Drop Distance has two examples:
      • After defeating Xemnas, Sora is taken out of action for the rest of the game and you can only play as Riku. Beating the game and loading clear data will rewind time to before the Xemnas fight, but until then everything in Sora's half of the game is cut off.
      • The save point before entering The Castle That Never Was in Riku's story is the last in the game. Similar to Days, entering the castle leads to the Final Boss, Young Xehanort, who is immediately followed by the Post-Final Boss, Armored Ventus Nightmare.
    • III: Entering Scala ad Caelum doesn't immediately prompt you for the final boss, as the cutscenes suggest. You're free to explore the first location of the world, which has a save point and a portal leading back to Keyblade Graveyard. Going to the city is what starts the final battle.
  • Lands of Lore 2, while allowing free exploration for the most part, has a few of these points. Apart from the first two areas becoming inaccessible after completing them, there are two major points of no return: when progressing from the Huline Jungle to the Savage Jungle (both of these acting in part as Hub Level for other areas), and when progressing from the Huline Temple to the City of the Ancients. Additionally, the Dracoid Ruins become inaccessible after finishing the final sub-quest there.
  • Zael's knighting ceremony in The Last Story: 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.
  • Two in The Legend of Dragoon. The first comes when you take to the 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 Moon That Never Sets, cutting you off of going back to the Divine Tree.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails:
    • Trails in the Sky: For FC, the game warns you that starting the mission to stop the coup will prevent you from going back into town for supplies. In SC once you reach the top of the Axis Pillar, you're told the last battles will occur and recommend saving to a different file if things get rough. In The 3rd, venturing towards Castle Phantasmagoria will cut you off from the Hermit's Garden and the planes permanently.
    • Trails from Zero: Walking into Marconi's secret vault in Zero functions as one of these, as afterwards you completely lose the ability to wander around freely. The game flat-out tells you this and to not proceed until you're sure you've done everything you want to. As does walking into the very same room in Azure, the game warns you beforehand that you'll be greatly restricted in your movements for quite some time.
    • Trails of Cold Steel: Each Cold Steel title usually gives a warning that proceeding through a major event will make them lose whatever items they can get during that time period. Stepping into the Final Dungeon usually does that. Specifically:
      • II: Starting the mission to rescue Elise and Governor Regnitz from the Imperial Villa, which leads you into a Plot Tunnel that only ends in an epilogue chapter.
      • III: Entering Heimdallr Cathedral in the final chapter.
      • IV: Waiting for Operation Jormungandr and Operation Mille Mirage to start.
  • LISA: Once Brad collects all four boat materials and agrees to assemble the boat with Tardy, he will not be able to return to the main hub. Tardy gives a warning to Brad (and the player) beforehand, telling them to make sure they have everything they need before setting sail.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: There are at least two of these, 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.
  • Last Word: Activating the door to confront the professor is preceded by Will Banter saying:
    If you have any unfinished business, do it now.
    Are you certain that you're ready?
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue has a nasty version where, upon trying to enter Zophar's fortress, the Destiny crashes and blocks off all access to the outside world, including any shops. The one saving grace is the healing statue inside the ship...which means you have to leave the final dungeon entirely to heal without item usage and crawl your way back up to stay healthy enough to fight the final boss.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect had a softer version, although there is no warning for it. After completing the missions to Therum, Feros, Noveria and Virmire, the heroes manage to discover Saren's destination is the lost Prothean planet of Ilos. However, once you have finished all four, you are instantly called back to the Citadel, where the Council decides to ground the Normandy. This temporarily seals off the rest of the Galaxy, until you get the Normandy back under your command. The Citadel remains sealed off after this, but you are allowed free roam of the galaxy besides this. Setting course for Ilos, however, puts you on the one-way fast track to the endgame.
    • Mass Effect 2 made its point of no return very obvious from the beginning: going through the Omega-4 Mass Relay and engaging in the Suicide Mission (potentially ending with everyone dying). However, if Shepard survives, the game gives access to all the unfinished quests and locations back. 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 combined with Video Game Caring Potential. Explanation
    • Mass Effect 3 has two of these:
      • A minor (but fairly nasty) example, completing the Tuchanka arc causes Cerberus to attack the Citadel, and after that many available sidequests are permanently closed off.
      • The finale has a two-stage "endgame", the first stage being the assault on Kronos Station, Cerberus' primary 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, to combat the Reaper threat and assemble the Crucible. Luckily, once you finish you're taken back to just before the first stage began.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Returning to Khi Tasira after your first visit locks you into the storyline's conclusion, as the Archon attacks the Nexus and severs your connection to SAM, forcing you to take after him as the kett fleet discover Meridian. The game is polite enough to tell you this and give you a chance to go back before you do. There is a Playable Epilogue afterwards, but one or two quests will be locked off forever (and the occasional one where the outcome is now very different).
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Battle Network: The last door in each game is a point of no return; the 3rd game onwards breaks the 4th wall to tell the player to save first. Extended Gameplay is featured so you don't permanently lose the ability to return to earlier areas afterwards.
    • Mega Man Star Force also does this, with the second game going so far as to force the player to save before moving past.
    • In Mega Man X: Command Mission, 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.
  • Megadimension Neptunia VII has several, all of the pretty polite:
    • 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. 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 The four nations and the Zero Dimension all reconnect.
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound Beginnings has a borderline point of no return. A word to the wise: do not talk to Queen Mary with all 8 melodies in townote  unless you are sure you can defeat Giegue, as Magicant disappears once you talk to Queen Mary to teach her the song. If you lose to Giegue, certainly do not save or you will have to fight through the mountain full of Demonic Spiders to reach him again.
    • In EarthBound (1994), you cannot turn back after you enter the Phase Distorter II and attempt to teleport directly to Giygas. 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 Time Travel, 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 that you're not coming back before you enter the Phase Distorter II.
      Dr. Andonuts: You might not be able to return. So, make sure you are optimally outfitted.
    • In 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 Lucas and company fall down a ridiculously long elevator shaft in the Empire Porky Building after defeating the Porky-Bots.
  • Before going into the DXI ruins in The Nameless Mod your Mission Control 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.
  • NetHack has one right before the elemental planes, but it warns you beforehand and there are opportunities (albeit limited) for items to drop.
  • Nier has multiple points throughout the game:
    • The first one, occurring pre-timeskip, is Tough, but an interesting Tough; after meeting Emil, you take an innocuous quest to grab some flowers from near your village, only to be ambushed by a giant Shade, the events of which end with Kaine sealing herself in a door to keep it locked up, Yonah getting kidnapped by a humanoid Shade, and Nier leaving on a pilgrimage to find her to no avail. When he returns, five years have passed and any quests you had active before hand have been cancelled, obviously. What's worse is the New Game Plus point is after that PoNR, meaning that for the rest of that save file, when you open your Quests menu you'll see a bunch of grayed out quests you'll never be able to finish.
    • The second one post-timeskip is Polite, as the game warns you that once you enter the Shadowlord's castle, there's no going back. However the real PoNR actually happens when you confront Devola and Popola immediately afterwards, who try to persuade you to go back to the village, which you can actually agree to. However, refusing their request and triggering their boss fight will lock you into the endgame.
    • The final one occurs in Ending D, where Nier sacrifices himself to save Kaine. The game will bluntly warn you, multiple times, that picking this ending will wipe your save data, and will follow through on it should you go ahead with the ending anyway.
  • NieR: Automata has a particularly tricky version.
    • After bringing the High Viscosity Oil to Pascal (the leader of a pacifist colony of machines), the City Ruins are attacked by two Engels units. Defeating them will open up a massive sinkhole in the center of the city, which will remain until Route B, in which case it's permanent from then on. The 'real' point is when entering the Flooded City on a mission to support an aircraft carrier returning to the shore to load nukes. Entering this area will fail any quest not considered a 'stretch quest'; meaning that only the Half-Wit Inventor quest will remain open. There's a second Point in Route A/B as well: Entering the Abandoned Factory to negotiate with the machine cult as 2B and hacking into the factory as 9S, as those will railroad you to the end of those routes. There's a final point as well: Entering the Tower as A2 will lock you into the final ending, either C or D. And finishing both leads directly to Ending E. Somewhat averted in that after getting ending C or D, Chapter Select opens up, which allows you to skip directly to any point in the story you want, thereby allowing you to get anything you missed.
    • A much more hidden point is in the sidequest given to you upon completing your weapon collection and fully upgrading them. Emil's Determination has an ending 'at the very end', which is obtained by allowing the Emil clones to self-destruct. Killing them and finishing the quest will permanently lock you out of getting Ending Y... unless you saved a copy of your file to another slot beforehand.
  • Octopath Traveler has a Strict example with Nasty elements. At the entrance to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Big Bad warns you that there's no turning back once you cross the threshold, and there's no save points to allow you to permanently screw yourself over. However, the game neglects to inform you that you will be using all eight party members against the True Final Boss until after you have forsaken any opportunity to grind their levels, so if your four least favorite goons are underleveled, you're going home with your head on a pike.
  • OMORI: Once you enter Black Space, you cannot return to Headspace unless on the Hikikomori route. The game warns you to finish any business you have left in Headspace before entering.
  • OneShot: In the Solstice route, Niko and the player are able to explore the Barrens as normal, even after unlocking the path to Prototype. However, after completing the puzzle in the room where you meet Prototype, the Solstice route kicks into full-gear, and Niko is forcefully kicked out of the Barrens. Other places become inaccessible after this, too, such as Calamus & Alula's house, the normal entrance from the Glen to Refuge, Kip's lab, the Refuge elevator, and even the area inside the Tower that you would normally play through in the first route.
  • The Outer Worlds has a very Polite example. The endgame is the mission to the Penal Colony of Tartarus, but before you can disembark on that quest, your ship's AI convenes a meeting with your crew to discuss the mission, stating that there is a high probability you may not come back, so you would be behooved to put your affairs into order. Afterwards, selecting Tartarus on the system map will provide a final confirmation prompt and a final opportunity to save your game before crossing the point of no return.
  • Persona:
    • In 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 Very Definitely Final Dungeon 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 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 in bright red letters to stock up before that day arives.
    • Persona 4:
      • When you confront and defeat the culprit in the original game, you lift the fog that's been plaguing Inaba. Once that happens, you lose the ability to hang out with your Social Links, since the game will immediately force you forward to Christmas and March afterwards, only stopping on December 23rd for the Christmas Eve date if you finish the dungeon early enough. It's less strict in Golden where you can continue to progress your Social Links up to February 5th.
      • On the very last day, you can choose to chase the True Ending by entering The Very Definitely Final Dungeon 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 the weapon shop Daidara or the item shop Shiroku.
    • Persona 5: Multiple:
      • It extends throughout the entire game. Upon reaching a Palace's "treasure", you get the option of sending a Calling Card 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. And once they are, the Palace self-destructs, so you can never return. However, if it turns out that you weren't ready, the game has features to prevent Unwinnable situations: losing to the boss allows you to return to the day you sent the calling card and regroup. If you've waited too long on your time limit for the dungeon, it gives you the option to return to a week before the deadline. And if you miss recruiting any Personas, whatever you can't fuse in the Velvet Room will reappear in Mementos.
      • Once the game catches up with the "present day" of the prologue, you are unable to return to school due to the protagonist faking his death until December 19th (and you will only get free time during a school day on December 22nd). During this time period, you lose access to most services there like the library and the school's vending machines, but not your Confidants situated there. However, Kawakami's Confidant-based Request unlocks during an event situated at school; you will thus lose the ability to max her Confidant if you ignore it for long enough, as it will be impossible to complete it in time following the protagonist's return to school. It's less strict in Royal if you maxed out Maruki's Confidant.
      • There is a very strict case in Royal concerning three confidants. You need to have Maruki at Rank 9 and Akechi at Rank 8 by the end of November 17th, as well as have Kasumi at Rank 5 by the end of December 22nd, as their Confidants will be otherwise be locked for the rest of the game for various reasons. You especially need to max Maruki out because if you fail to do so, you're locked out of the third semester. Yoshida will also be unavailable after November 13th, but the player would have had adequate time to max him beforehand.
      • A Polite version happens once you unlock the seventh Palace. Morgana tells you to take your time with preparing for the heist, since it will be your last chance to raise your social stats or hang out with your Confidants, with the final day being December 22nd. If you've unlocked the Third Semester in Royal, however, then your final opportunity is February 1stnote .
      • 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 shop at Takemi's clinic and Iwai's shop, but otherwise, you're stuck until you clear Mementos. On a New Game Plus run, this even locks you out of fighting the twins. However, after the Hopeless Boss Fight you return to the real world, which has turned into The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and are unable to shop, but you can still get free healing from Lavenza. Oddly enough, once you reach the door that leads to the dungeon, Futaba warns you that it only opens from the outside, wrongly implying that you won't be able to leave to buy new weapons, stock up on healing items, or grind easier enemies.
    • In Persona 5 Strikers, there are two Polite cases. The first is when the Phantom Thieves prepare to leave Osaka following the completion of the Jail there, and Zenkichi warns you to take care of any outstanding requests in the Jails before EMMA is shut down and the Jails are left inaccessible. However, that case is subverted, since once you arrive in Yokohama, you receive additional requests and can still access the completed Jails. But when you proceed to the Tokyo radio tower, the game warns you that the story will advance significantly from that point onward.
  • Phantasy Star I has the Air Castle. The only way to reach it is by giving Myau a special item that lets him fly your party up to the castle. Once you're there, the only way to return to the overworld is with the Fly spell or a Transer item: lacking those, you're stuck until you defeat the final bosses.
  • Pillars of Eternity
    • It's pretty obvious that 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. 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 Trauma Inn 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 any sidequests that involve the city.
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire: A soft point of no return happens when you choose a faction to side with, which locks you out of the routes for the other factions. A hard point of no return is when you cross Ondra's Mortar and enter the lost city of Ukaizo.
  • Pokémon: Every game, except for Sword/Shield, 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. Fortunately, the game warns you, and if you lose you get put back at the Pokémon Center outside the challenge area.
  • Rainbow Skies is Polite. At certain points in the game, you will be told that if you carry on, you will not be able to return for a very long time.
  • Quest 64: At the end of a hallway in Brannoch Castle, there's a door to a room with 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. In the world of Mammon, Epona provides an opportunity to rest near the end, so taking this time to rest and save permanently locks you out of everything else in the game.
  • Quest for Glory:
    • In Quest for Glory I, after defeating the Brigand Leader, going back to the castle ends the game (and gives you the Bad Ending to boot), so you can't clean the stables or challenge the Weapon Master from that point on.
    • Quest for Glory II operates on a 30-day cycle. The caravan to Raseir leaves at dawn on day 17, and you are locked into the endgame for the rest of the adventure.
    • In Quest for Glory III, 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 Quest for Glory IV, it's the Dark One Cave once you finally enter it again.
    • And in Quest for Glory V, it's the mansion of the Big Bad.
  • Remnants of Isolation: Celesta cannot return to her cell with Melchior once they team up, she does eventually re-enter the cell's room, but not the cell itself. So the books inside her cell can never be read.
  • In Sailor Moon: Another Story, 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.
  • Save the Light: After unlocking all the locations on the map (not counting the Bonus Dungeons), Steven can ask Lion to summon a portal to Hessonite's Warship to rescue Light Steven. One of Steven's party members reminds him to make sure he's done everything else he can before he's ready, because once he enters it and takes the elevator in Hessonite's Warship, he won't be able to return to Beach City.
  • In the original Shadow Hearts every time you leave a location in China (with the exception of Shanghai), you leave for good. After Dehuai's tower, you leave China for good. This is justified, since the party lacks any kind of Global Airship, and the game even makes a six-month Time Skip while the party travels to Europe. Meanwhile Europe has a better transport network, and the party can travel with little problems (as the World War I is yet to start).
  • Shin Megami Tensei has alignment locks. These lock in your ending and, for the most part, prevent you from going to certain areas:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei I, 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 Basilica. Depending on how you enter and who you enter with, your alignment is set and there's no going back.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei II, 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 Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, 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 Lucifer's powers. If you trigger this one, then it overrides any other ending you would have normally gotten.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, once you approach the Final Boss's room for the first time and 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 Character Alignment is locked for the rest of the game.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, when you 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 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 Mikado anymore, as it's only accessible after defeating 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 Final Boss first, then you can explore Mikado freely again, then defeat the Law path's final boss, then afterwards you can explore everywhere at your own pace until you visit Cafe Florida with the final Neutral quest complete.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse 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: Siding with Dagda locks you into the Massacre route, on which 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 opposing Dagda locks you into the Bonds route, on which you keep all of your partners. Both the Bonds and Massacre route will not restrict your ability to explore, though.
    • Thanks to the leyline founts in Shin Megami Tensei V, there is no real point where the game locks you out of exploring the game world. However, if there's anything alignment- or ending-based you want to do, the door behind Metatron must remain closed if you wish to do it. Pass through and the alignment lock decision goes down. If you haven't done the quests required for the hidden ending and you cross that threshold, you will have to start a New Game Plus before you can try again. Much like with boss fights, Aogami will let you know when this is.
      Aogami: [Young man], given all we've been through together until now, I've developed an acute sense for when something is about to happen. I recommend we use that leyline fount and make sure we are prepared before moving on.
  • In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, enter Metropolis Zone and you're not coming back, allowing you to miss picking up Cream the Rabbit. Enter the Twilight Cage, and the same thing happens there, and you can miss Omega for it. Ditto for entering the Nocturnes lair, and a fifth Point Of No Return occurs when you go to fight the final boss. Thankfully items and rings (though not additional party members) carry over, into New Game Plus allowing you to get everything you missed, or miss it again.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth has a few.
    • Completing any of the nighttime events (Aliens, Gnomes, Clyde) locks you out of these areas for the rest of the game (or postgame in Clyde's case).
    • Completing O, Canada and speaking to Cartman & Kyle will immediately begin Beat Up Clyde. This is quite a Tough point of no return, however, as there is a shop right before the true final boss of the game, Nazi Zombie Princess Kenny.
    • The above is an example of this as well, as disarming the snuke in Mr. Slave's ass will block you from using Kenny for the rest of the game due to his betrayal soon after.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole has quite a few:
    • Completing the mission The Chaos Gambit, has your character switch sides to the Freedom Pals, locking you out of using party members from Coon and Friends until the mission The Thin White Line. You're still able to use Call Girl/Wendy regardless, as she doesn't belong to a faction, and friend abilities will still happen as intended. On the other side of the coin, there are two missions that lock you out of content permanently.
      • Completing The Thin White Line will immediately start Freedom Calling which will immediately follow into To Catch a Coon. Starting the latter of the two locks you out of using Coon/Cartman for the rest of the game.
      • After completing The Many Asses of Dr Mephesto, the party immediately heads to Freeman's Tacos to go back into the past and stop Cartman. Morgan Freeman warns you that eating the taco he gives you is the point of no return, and explicitly recommends that you get anything you want to get done, done. He means it too, as eating the taco locks you into Farts of Future Past, the final mission of the game, and the hub world is unavailable until it is done. Even in sections set in modern day, Fastpass' fast travel is disabled.
  • The Star Ocean series has a bad habit of doing this.
    • In the original Star Ocean, finishing the Space-Time Laboratory and defeating Asmodeus sets off a chain of events that leads to the party leaving past Roak and going to Fargettnote 
    • Star Ocean: The Second Story has two in quick succession. The first is the raid on the Lacuer Front Line Base which locks off everywhere except the Ell continent. Then, the next dungeon locks the player out of Expel entirelynote . There is a way to go back, but you won't get that chance until the End Game Plus (or Post-End Game Content in Second Story R).
  • Star Warrior II: The Deep is the final dungeon of the game if the player is on the true ending path, and they cannot leave it once they enter. Fortunately, the save point before the final boss instantly refills all consumables, which makes up for the inability to return to the base's shop.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic:
    • The game does 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 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords (made by Obsidian), going to the Jedi Council room on Dantooine after gathering together or killing the surviving Council members puts you on a one-way track to the end of the game.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic 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.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Defied in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Right before the final bosses, your 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 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, 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 being shot to the Moon in chapter 7. Also, leaving the X-Naut Fortress at the end of chapter 7 locks you out of it until after defeating the Final Boss.
  • Sword of the Stars: 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.
  • Tales of...
    • Tales of Phantasia involves Time Travel, which happens as part of the plot when called for, and the trips are one way, locking off absolutely everything that came before. While the first one (going from the present to the past after beating The Catacombs) isn't too big of an issue (You lose one party member for a very long time, but he does eventually rejoin), the second trip (Past to Future via Thor and the events that follow) is massive and world changing.
    • Tales of Symphonia has an odd one- after completing the fire seal, the player has the option to follow the intended route and take a boat to Palmacosta and head towards the water seal, or go across a bridge far to the north and head towards the light seal, which is intended to be the final seal of Sylvarant. The story accommodates whatever route the player chooses, but the enemy levels don't, and once you cross the sea, whether it's by boat or by bridge, you're locked into the route. For an exploration-minded first-time player who wasn't aware of this and finds themselves getting destroyed by enemies twice their level, this means either a lot of tedious grinding in old areas or restarting the game. There's a second, minor but more traditional one later on, at the end of GCN version's first disc, that destroys one town and a handful of dungeons.
  • Undertale: It depends on the route:
    • On Neutral, defeating Asgore. Once he is taken care of, Flowey hijacks the game by stealing the six human SOULS and crashing your game. After that, any subsequent attempts at opening the game are met with Flowey as the rather disturbing and powerful Final Boss, since he has usurped control of 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 trapped inside after entering, as you end up entering it through a faulty elevator which breaks and falls down into the lab, making it impossible for you to go back. Once you escape, you're stuck in New Home, as all other entrances become blocked off as well. So you're left with nothing more to do than go and initiate the confrontation with Asgore again... which is disrupted by all of your friends coming to stop the fight. However, the reunion is interrupted by Flowey, who absorbs all of their SOULS - and the SOULS of everyone else except for you - to assume his true form and identity: Asriel Dreemurr.
    • 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, contrary to popular belief, stalling while fighting Mettaton NEO. The second is when you succeed in killing everyone in the underground. After killing Asgore and Flowey, you are met with a corrupted form of the Fallen Child, Chara, who asks for your assistance in erasing all of existence. Regardless of whether you accept their offer or not, everything is erased regardless. This Point of No Return is much more severe, as after this, if you decide to play again, you have to sell the protagonist's SOUL in order to restore the game. This permanently taints all future Pacifist endings, while altering additional future Genocide endings. On the PC version, it can only be reverted by modifying the game files or doing fresh reinstall.
    • The Ruins will be permanently sealed off after you leave until the Pacifist epilogue. 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, namely Asgore, easier. Buying, and still having, a Spider item from the Ruins and then using it during Muffet's fight will skip her fight entirely.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 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.
  • Wild ARMs 5 has a Point Of No Return that the game is kind enough to warn you about at the top of 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 Very Definitely Final Dungeon 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 New Game Plus.
  • In A Witch's Tale, this point of no return is entering the final world after obtaining the six sigils. Loue explicitly warns about this.
  • After a certain point in the Shibuya River in The World Ends with You, you cannot go back. In fact, you can't save after that point, either, because there are no enemies between you and the Final Boss, which means no Level Grinding if you can't beat him. Appropriately, the cutoff room is called "Rubicon."
  • World of Mana
    • In Secret of Mana, the mainland cannot be returned to when entering the Mana Fortress without using a glitch.
    • In Sword of Mana, the mainland is inaccessible when entering Dime Tower.
  • Workshop In The Ironwood Grove: The final boss is preceded by a message labeled as such:
    Once you enter, the final battle will begin.
    Are you ready?
    Let's go.
    Not ready yet...
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Goblin and Pandaren starting zones are surprisingly this, seeing how the starting zones are meant to be a glorified Tutorial Level, 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 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.
    • You can no longer go back to the new Exile's Reach start zone after the boss fight.
    • In expansions since Warlords of Draenor, the game prompts you that for a time you will be in a long set-piece that restricts your access to other parts of the game. Generally, when completing these set-pieces, you get to a hub area where you have set up a base and opened portals back to Orgrimmar and Stormwind. They range from fairly short (the Horde Battle for Azeroth starting quest involving the Zandalari trolls) to quite long (the Shadowlands episode in the Maw). There are options to skip these questlines from the previous expansions for players who have already been through them on other characters.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 has a few, where timed quests (noted by a clock on the quest log), certain areas (and their items, Unique Monsters, Skip Travel locations), and Non Player Characters, will become unavailable or changed until New Game Plus:
    • 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 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 Agniratha, but before Mechonis Core, when Egil revives the Mechonis, you get locked out of Mechonis Field, and Agniratha's Skip Travel locations are disabled, but you can get back by the lift in Central Factory.
    • The biggest is after completing Mechonis Core, which unlocks The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, locks you out of the Mechonis, due to it's destruction, and unlocks the Pre-Final Boss content.
    • The final Point of No Return is at the top of Prison Island which sends you to the Final Bosses, Dickson, the Solar Memory bosses, and Zanza and the game is polite enough to ask you if you really want to continue.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X is polite about this in the last chapter where Elma will ask you twice if you are ready for the end.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
    • The game has a Polite example, where you're warned before you open the door to the Final Boss's room that there is no turning back, that your game will be saved, and that dying during the final battle boots you back to the title screen.
    • This trope is mocked when a fellow Salvager asks Rex if he's ready to depart for the big team job (which actually does lock you into a mini-dungeon and plot sequence). Refusing makes the guy laugh at himself for being so serious about it and say that nothing will change in Argentum while they're gone for one job. He's actually right - the game is trying to tell the player its narrative and skip travel system are completely divorced from each other, so one can travel around and Take Your Time even when the party is nominally stranded or on an immovable deadline.
    • In Torna ~ The Golden Country, the same warning is given on the stairway up to the final boss encounter. Be wary of the Post-Climax Confrontation, though.
  • Xenogears has a few of these. The first is 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 before entering Solaris; continuing after that point denies you access to the world map until the very end of the game.
  • 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 the inner keep of Kefin Castle. The good news is that, as with Final Fantasy, you can't save yourself into an Unwinnable situation in the latter area, the bad news is you have to fight three bosses in a row, the first (Karion) and last (Jabir's One-Winged Angel form) of which are That One Boss. 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 The Very Definitely Final Dungeon). 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 Warp Wings or Warp Magic to make it a true point of no return. One exception 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. But in Book 2 you can use the warp magic to return to previous areas even after entering the final dungeon.
    • Visiting Ruins Island in Ys SEVEN locks you out of Altago City for the rest of the game and, more damningly, cancels any quests you had active at the time, like Nier. The game gives you a very brief mention of the trip having no return, but that's it.
    • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana subverts it. Even after reaching the final dungeon, you're freely allowed to travel and explore the island, which is a good thing, as some sidequests will only show up at that point. This is, however, played completely straight if you reached the Golden Ending: once you've entered the Abyss Of Origins, there's no way to go back to Castaway Village or the rest of the island, making it a one way trip to the true final boss.
  • Zwei: The Arges Adventure empties your inventory except for books, has Pokkle put his sword away and doesn't let you enter dungeons after defeating the final boss. It's possible to save during this epilogue segment and not be able to access any of the optional dungeons you missed as a result of this. The game does however warn you by having one of the hints displayed on the pause menu be "Mind your overwriting!"

  • Hitman 3 has a few. Some in-universe, some on our side.
    • Completing "Death in the Family", the Dartmoor/Alexa Carlisle level, has the Constant send CICADA assassins after Lucas Grey. In retaliation, he commits suicide, rendering him gone for the rest of the game.
    • There is an in-universe example concerning both the Berlin/ICA Agents level "Apex Predator", and the Chongqing/Hush and Imogen Royce level "End Of An Era". Completing both of these missions will destroy the ICA. Olivia Hall even laments this. 47's only possible response? Kill the ICA, which then sets the facility both into lockdown mode, but also ablaze.
      • Olivia: When you press that button, it's up there and the whole world will know. There's no undo, 47. This will shut the ICA down for good. You really okay with this? It's who you've been for so long.
    • The entire mission of Untouchable/Arthur Edwards ("The Constant") is this. Not only does the game specifically tell you that only for this mission that killing civilians is not only allowed but ENCOURAGED, there's also an actual point of no return, as when you detach the rest of the train from the Constant's carriage, the only thing between you and the end of the series is his assassination.
  • The Like a Dragon series uses the Polite approach, showing a text popup that directly tells the player, "You're about to begin the final story sequence, this is your last chance to save your game and replenish your resources" right before you initiate the game's final chapter. This isn't exactly true, though, since you're also given the chance to begin a "premium adventure" with your newly cleared save file, which basically lets you play in a free-roaming mode that allows you to finish the remaining side stories.
    • Yakuza 0: The point of no return is in the final chapter, when each of the two characters decide to go on their respective raids, towards the Nikkyo Consortium for Kiryu and the Dojima Family HQ for Majima. The game makes it crystal clear that you won't be able to return after you've crossed that point, but interestingly, you can choose to cross the point of no return with one of them and continue playing with the other; the game doesn't proceed with the main quest until you cross the point with both Kiryu and Majima.
    • Yakuza Kiwami: The point of no return is when Kiryu takes Haruka to meet Yumi at Ares.
    • Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name: The point of no return lies between the raid on the Kijin Clan base and meeting with Watase. The game warns you twice. First, just before you are given control of Kiryu in Sotenbori, stating that this is the last time you will be able to freely explore the city before the finale, while also suggesting making a save before commiting to the end. The second is when you approach the sofa in Akame's office, where the game states that you will be thrown into several consecutive battles, so you may want to stock up on supplies beforehand. There are also several cutscenes, so the game suggests putting time aside to watch them.
  • 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. This is especially true on Hardcore mode, as defeating the Ender Dragon is the only way to get out of the End.
    • 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.
  • Star Control II doesn't lock you out completely — but once you've broken the slave shield on Procyon, the Chmmr re-engineer your starship into a giant bomb to take out the Final Boss, leaving you virtually helpless and completely dependent on your escorts for the last stretch of the game. Given that your starship previously outclassed the best escorts available by a country mile and that most of the better escorts are useless in the last fight, you'd better have done everything you intended to do elsewhere in the quadrant.
  • Terraria:
    • Once the 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 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 defeat the Moon Lord.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 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.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has a Polite example, right before the final battle. Not only does Aloy mutter if she's finished everything as you approach the objective, the dialogue choice outright tells you there's no turning back.
  • Horizon Forbidden West has a Polite Point of No Return at the campfire before going through with "Singularity." It tells you that until you complete the mission, you're locked into the endgame.
  • To enter the endgame in .flow, the player must permanently discard Sabitsuki's effects. The only warning you're given is "Do you want to throw it all away?" Thankfully, if you haven't saved past the point of no return you can just reload your file.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has a Polite example, which warns you that once you enter the tournament in the Buu saga, you won't be able to access certain features until you beat the game.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • After assembling the Golden Warpship in Solar Jetman, 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 only one of its kind.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Tomodachi Life:
    • There is no way to back out of a Mii's love problem once you've tapped that bubble. The only options you have are to either help them out, or tell them not to do it, which will make the Mii sad. But at least love problems are obvious, and you can save the game before solving them.
    • There are also the breakup/divorce prompts, but these aren't nearly as merciful as the love problems. Unlike the love problems, these aren't obvious, instead looking like a regular friendship problem. The only way you might be able to guess if this is the problem is if you check their relationship panel and their relationship with their sweetheart/spouse is "getting along OK" or below. Should this be the case, be sure to save the game before you help the Mii with their problem, because if you don't, there is no backing out. The only options available to you are to have the Mii try and work things out or move on.
  • Yes, Your Grace: If Eryk enters his bedroom after being informed Aurelea wants to talk to him on the last week before the wedding, he's not allowed to leave until he has chosen a wedding dress. All other mandatory family conversations allow Eryk to leave the room as long as they are taken care of before the end of the turn.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Camp Sunshine 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.
  • In Dead Island, 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 Deathstalker Zed's Demise, and New Game Plus is available once you killed the Final Boss.
  • Fatal Frame 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.
  • Fear & Hunger: Both endgame areas lock you out of backtracking: the entrance to the Gauntlet closes after you enter, whilst the Void involves a one-way teleportation trip.
  • Fear & Hunger: Termina: Enter the White Bunker and the vault door shuts behind you to prevent you from going back. Similarly, entering the Hollow Tower's interior causes it to elevate upwards, with no way of getting it to reverse course.
  • The Five Nights at Freddy's series has a few, depending on the game in question.
    • In Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, this can be triggered in a few ways, including having nothing in your restaurant by the end of the week, going bankurupt, or viewing the Egg Baby Data blueprints. But one of the more notable ones is in the game's true ending. To do this, you need to salvage all of the available animatronics (Molten Freddy, Scrap Baby, Afton, Lefty) or have them enter your pizzeria by other means (most easily done by buying an item that is marked down). Salvaging one of these is a point of no return in on itself, because doing so means that an animatronic is now loose around your vents. Permanently. This stacks and makes the game harder each night. Salvaging all three, and then doing so to or letting Lefty inside prematurely locks you into the game's true ending with the Henry speech.
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach there are two.
      • After you reach 6AM, you are given the opportunity to either leave the Pizzaplex or stay. Choose the leave, and you are locked into the game's bad ending, where it is implied that Gregory is killed by Vanny. All other endings are locked past staying in the Pizzaplex. However, the 'STAY' and 'VANNY' options will lock you into the Pizzaplex for the rest of your game, with the game disabling most of the Save Stations throughout the 'plex. (It used to be all of them, but a patch added one in Roxy Raceway that still works past this point.)
      • Upon finding the elevator that leads to the True Ending, Freddy warns you that it is likely one-way. Sure enough, once you take the elevator, not only can you not take it back up, but your autosave file has you kept down there.
  • The Hanged Man 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 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. 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 realizes he has something important to tell Keith and needs to follow him. Talking to Keith means the player is locked into their final ending, based on the abovementioned decision. The tricky part comes from the fact that what makes the difference between those endings is based on a very minor thing the player may or may not have remembered to do. note 
  • Haunting Ground: 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.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. fan-game (Mario) The Music Box, the game gives you two informed instances of this after Luigi is reunited with Mario. Another less obvious one is when Mario and Luigi pull a lever and have to make it into the deeper parts of the mines before the time limit is up.
  • Engaging the stardrive in The Persistence causes a power surge than knocks out several key systems... including the Recovery clone printer responsible for all your extra lives. From here, you either back up both Zimri ''and'' Serena's engrams to the auxiliary or die, with the only survivor being the backed up engram.
  • The Resident Evil games always has at least one and they never tell you about them until it's too late:
    • The first game 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.
    • Resident Evil 2 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). The Remake has the same point of no return, for the A Scenario reasons, but the game is polite about it; Leon/Claire will point blank say "There's no going back once I start this trolley, better make sure I'm ready."
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis 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 Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, 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 Self-Destruct Mechanism. Also, don't leave any important weapons in Claire's possession when you switch back to her for the last time.
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard doesn't let you return to the Baker Estate after getting on the boat with Zoe.
    • Entering Heisenberg's factory in Resident Evil Village locks you out of ever going back into the village or other areas, and earlier on Castle Dimitrescu is also permanently inaccessible once you leave. In both cases, any missed items are gone for good for that playthrough.
  • SIGNALIS counts as Cruel. Throughout the game you collect hexagonal "plates," which are not used until near the end, and after you leave an area of the game you usually can't go back, for a variety of reasons. If you somehow miss a plate, then your only hope is that you have a save in the appropriate level.
  • The Silent Hill games have this at numerous points, such as entering or leaving the Dark World, one-way trips via car, train or boat, or if the path behind you becomes blocked by a Broken Bridge. Games 1-4 are particularly worrisome because of this: Since you only get specific weapons for your inventory and cannot go back to collect them once an area is left, you can miss out on very important items such as powerful melee weapons or firearms. In the first game, this can keep you from obtaining a vital Plot Coupon that you can't get the best ending without; even though the door it's hidden behind is still accessible in the hospital lobby, the door itself becomes permanently jammed after you shift into the Dark World and then return. Additionally, many of the optional rooms in the games tend to contain multiple monsters and lots of first-aid items, and while not grabbing them isn't a huge loss, you can't come back when you're more prepared, so get them now. Origins has so many weapons that this isn't an issue, Shattered Memories doesn't allow you to even have an inventory anyways so all you can miss is optional lore, and Downpour has several Bag of Spilling areas and only allows you to carry two items at a time while littering the grounds with various weapons from rocks to broken pieces of wood.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion, once you choose to visit the Promised Land, you will not be able to return to the Deepsea Metro until you've completed the expansion. The game warns you of this by asking you to confirm three times that you really want to proceed.
  • In Splatoon 3, once you have all the parts that Deep Cut were after, you're given a three-prompt query if you really wish to proceed; confirm and you're off to the rocket launch site with no way back.
  • Warframe has two examples, each relating to a main story quest. Both are Polite examples, as they directly warn you that you must see the mission through before you make the decision.
    • During The War Within, you're warned that once you enter the Kuva Fortress (the capital of the Grineer Empire), you won't be able to go back to other in-game functions until the quest is completed, and will be stuck with the loadout you currently have.
    • The New War takes this even furtherstarting the quest outright warns the player that they won't be able to go back to normal in-game activities until the entirety of the the quest is completed. Completion of the quest sees permanent alterations to Fortuna and Cetus, while giving their landscape maps new enemies to fight and new bounties to complete, kills off Teshin (who is now replaced with a hologram), and fills the Star Chart with destroyed Murex ships (which are just cosmetic).

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden has two of these. Its Video Game Remake, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, allows you to return to both of them in the Playable Epilogue.
      • 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.
      • In Act 5, you can't go back when you enter Duma Temple. In the remake, Mycen does warn you about this, saying it's a place "not easily returned from".
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, reaching the penultimate chapter on any route prevents you from saving after defeating the boss (although you can still use the one-time saves in the middle of battle) or returning to My Castle to stock up for the Endgame chapter. If the player loses to the Final Boss, they have to complete the previous chapter all over again.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • The end of Part I. Completing Chapter 11's story mission locks all Part I sidequests, and if you are a Black Eagle and defect to the Empire in the Holy Tomb, you lose the ability to recruit characters from outside your house. Completing Chapter 12 ends Part I completely, and you lose recruitment if you didn't meet the previous requirement.
      • On the Azure Moon and Crimson Flower routes, starting the second-to-last story battle permanently removes access to Garreg Mach Monastery, so once you make the final trip to Enbarr or the Tailtean Plains respectively, you're in it to win it.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic has a minor example in the form of one-way portals: if you go through one, you either have to find some other route back (often involving lots of fighting, as a one-way can often lead right into an enemy's zone), or disband and re-hire your hero.
  • Pendragon has the Battle of Camlann. Escaping the battle by fleeing is impossible, and the only way out is to reach the exit after fighting through an endless wave of enemy soldiers. The game is polite enough to warn you about this, but there's a Nasty surprise up ahead when you face Mordred - any move you make from that point onward can't be cancelled.
  • X-COM:
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
      • Entering the Gollop Chamber with your top psychic soldier will start the final sequence. However, the game is pretty polite and warns you several times that you won't be able to do anything but attack 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 soft point of no return (that you might not even notice depending on how high your soldier turnover is) also occurs after building the Gollop Chamber: You will not be able to train any more psychic soldiers. The game still lets you evaluate your new soldiers for psychic potential (removing them from the mission rotation for 10 days), but they will have a 100% fail rate after the Gollop Chamber is built.
      • A more nasty variant of this trope comes into play in the expansion pack Enemy Within: 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, the game ends automatically.
    • In XCOM 2, once you hijack the ADVENT Network Tower and expose their crimes to the world, you have to attack the Alien's underwater base. Like the previous game, it will be polite and 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.
    • XCOM: Chimera Squad has another Nasty situation in store for the endgame; defeating the third enemy faction opens up two critical missions that, like the endgames of the previous two games, you will have no choice but to engage in when they appear. Unlike those endgames, there isn't a warning before taking down the last faction that doing so will commit you to the finale. This means that any scars on your soldiers and research projects that aren't completed will stay that way to the end.

     Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Miasma Chronicles: A Polite example. You get a warning that some content will become unavailable when you enter the First Factory (which is the Final Dungeon).

    Visual Novel 
  • C14 Dating: On the sixth week's Wednesday, Melissa will realize she made a major mistake, have a huge moment of self-doubt about her chances in passing the class and retreat to her tent. The love interest who comes to check on her when it happens is the only person with whom a best friend or romance ending will be possible for the rest of the playthrough, no matter who the player was aiming for.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! features an unusual nasty version on the day of the festival. 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 advises the player to save at important decisions, 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.
  • A Little Lily Princess: Act 1 allows the player to follow several routes and the resources are sufficient to complete the first half of up to three of them during a single run. Act 2, which covers the part of the story in which Sara has lost her fortune, will only allow the player to watch a free event from each still-available route before they need to commit to one of them, which locks the other available route(s).

  • Fallen London has a few, some signposted, some not. Most famously, "Seeking Mr Eaten's Name" has a very clearly marked one that, if passed, prevents you from returning to the entire rest of the game. Forever. Quite a few people have done this.
  • Lucky Tower: 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.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Made in Abyss has the "Curse of the Abyss", which causes injury and Body Horror for those who attempt to return to the surface, with the general nastiness of the symptoms increasing the further down you go. At the 6th Layer of the Abyss (approximately 13,000 meters), attempting to return to the surface is fatal at best and causes a Fate Worse than Death at worst. In addition, the 2nd Layer of the Abyss is considered a point of no return for fledgling Red Whistle Delvers, with any such Delvers reaching this Layer being written off as having chosen to die and search parties explicitly instructed not to waste time and resources trying to rescue them.

  • Called the "Point of SAFE Return" in Alien vs. Predator, which is really just the same point when viewed from the OTHER side.
    Helicopter pilot: Just passed the P.S.R.
    Graeme: Oh, damn! I wish I got a picture.
    Lex: Of what?
    Graeme: Uh, th-the P.S.R. I wish he'd call it out before we passed it.
    Lex: [laughing] The P.S.R. is the "Point of Safe Return". It means we've used up half our fuel so we can't turn back.
    Graeme: Right, but if something went wrong, we could uh... land presumably.
    Lex: We could ditch.
    Graeme: Yeah, ditch.
    Lex: But the temperature of the water would kill us in three minutes.
  • Back to the Future Part III: With no gasoline to power the time machine up to its activation speed, Doc and Marty plan to hijack a train to push it up to speed, the only problem being that their route dead-ends at a ravine. On the model Doc makes for their plan, he labels a windmill along the track with this trope's name:
    Marty: What does this mean, "Point of No Return"?
    Doc: That's our failsafe point. Up until there, we still have enough time to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine. But once we pass this windmill, it's the future or bust.
  • The Matrix:
    • The trope namer for the Red Pill, Blue Pill choice is this either way: either lose your ignorance to the Awful Truth, or lose the ability to ever confirm it.
      Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.
    • When Neo spots the trope-naming glitch in the Matrix, the movie's status quo changes permanently, as it marks the moment when the Matrix begins hunting them down by sending Agents at him and the remaining characters inside the system and, in the real world, sentinels are given the order to find and destroy the Nebuchadnezzar.
  • In Turning Red, once Mei gives up the chance to seal her red panda spirit away after the first red moon after she gets it ends she is stuck with it forever.
  • Falling Down: D-Fens mentions this trope by name a little over halfway through the movie when he calls up his ex-wife to explain that he's officially gone too far in his journey across LA to turn back, both in a literal and a figurative sense, and also compares where he's currently at to the Apollo 13 astronauts when they were behind the moon and out of contact with Earth while everyone held their breath to see if they would re-emerge alive.

  • In The Coming Race, the narrator and an engineer descend into the chasm in a cage, then climb the last fifty feet using ropes and grappling hooks. The narrator climbs down first, but as the engineer follows him, the rock suddenly crumbles, killing the engineer and destroying the narrator's chances of climbing back up.


  • A self-aware homage to the trope in Roleplay Retcon. In the finale episode of their remake of Pixels, the main characters' Artificial Intelligence friend Dongle warns the party that this may be the last chance to purchase power-ups before entering the main antagonists' lair.


Video Example(s):


You'll save, right?

Stuffwell hastily advises the Mario Bros. to save their progress since they're about to face the last battle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / OminousSavePrompt

Media sources: