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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.
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  • Polite: The game warns you that the point of no return is ahead. You are encouraged to save the game before heading out, and to keep that slot preserved in case you need to go back. If you neglect this advice, you will put yourself in either a Tough or Nasty situation depending on the game.
  • Tough: You're playing through the game, and save your file as normal. Then you decide to go back to check something out, only to find that you've unwittingly passed the point of no return, possibly leaving your best items and equipment behind. However, there is a shop and the enemies here drop gold, so you can 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.

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.

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 and Inescapable Ambush.

Warning! Expect unmarked spoilers ahead!

Video Game Examples:

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  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Protocol 10's initiation in Batman: Arkham City 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+ and the ability to do post-story side missions and collect Riddler trophies.
    • Going after Firefly in Batman: Arkham Origins locks you into the endgame, as straight after you've defeated him, you automatically go to the Batcave, then straight to Blackgate prison for the last part of the story. As always though, you stay in Gotham after the story is finished, allowing for side missions to be done and Enigma Data Packets to be collected. Again, there is also a New Game+.
    • 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+ 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.
  • 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 Urdak once you go there, but allows you to get or do whatever you need first.
  • The first God of War has a point near the end where the voice of Athena tells you that once you will not be able to return until you have gotten what you came for. This is a Merciful rather than a Polite example though, as even once you come back to where you started, you cannot go back to get stuff you missed.
  • 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 its 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).
  • Entering the final stage in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle triggers this instantly. In the first game you can return to Santa Destroy and choose to play the epilogue battle whenever you feel ready. Since there's no epilogue in the second game, it won't be possible to return to the other places until the New Game+.
  • 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 II 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+, 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.

  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In 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 is more insidious; after a certain point in the first Memory of Sequence Eight, the game locks you into accepting Memory 8-2. You get one easily-overlooked chance to back out before accepting 8-3, which puts you on a roller-coaster ride straight to the end of Sequence Nine with no further option of declining missions and resuming free-roam. Then comes 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.
    • In 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.
    • Finding the key in Assassin's Creed III 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 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.
  • Entering the subway tunnels in Beneath a Steel Sky 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the very first game The Legend of Zelda you have to have 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.
    • The Ganondorf battle in Ocarina of Time. If you save here, there's no going back, as it immediately restarts at the cutscene when you reload. Later releases of the game, from version 1.2 onwards,note  prevented that problem by restarting at the entrance of Ganon's Tower regardless of where and when you save.
    • Subverted in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. After completing the 13 floors of the dungeon, you cross a bridge which crumbles behind you. Your fairy, Celia, says you can't go back now, and then a portal to the start of the dungeon opens up.
    • As quoted above in the page quote, Link's companion in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will warn the player that there is a zero percent chance that they will return from the final boss arena unless they are able to vanquish said final boss. Like other examples in the series, this game is also very nice about its usage of Point of No Return.
    • In 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.
  • 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, the player won't be able to re-enter the mansion - 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. 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.
    • Breaking into the Queen Metroid's chamber is still this in Metroid: Samus Returns, 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.
    • Super Metroid has two cases: The first point of no return is right after entering Tourian, as using the first save point found here (which is coincidentally placed right next to the elevator) and reloading will make the elevator disappear; then there's the final save point in the game, located right before the final boss, and after dealing with the baby metroid — if you use it the door leading back turns grey and you've nowhere to go but the end 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.
    • In 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.
  • Neverwinter Nights has one of these, and frustratingly doesn't let you know until after you've entered the door.
    • Hordes of the Underdark has several. Among other things, in chapter 3, you're given five quests, but the 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.
  • Nier has this in the form of its final ending: if the player decides to sacrifice themself to save Kaine, their entire save file will be erased as Nier's existence is irrevocably erased, such that none even remember him. The totality of this sacrifice is such that the same save file name cannot be used again.
  • NieR: Automata, like its predecessor, has its own unique twist on this: After achieving the Golden Ending, the player is asked if they would like to send aid to another player who is struggling with the Nintendo Hard Creative Closing Credits sequence they just completed. Doing so would send aid to another randomly chosen player, and requires the player to sacrifice their save data to do so. This is one of the most Polite variations of this trope: the player is asked for multiple confirmations, if they are willing to give up everything they unlocked over the course of the game, if they are willing to send help to a complete stranger or even someone they don't like.
  • In Ōkami, before the boss gauntlet, Issun literally tells you you're about to step into "the point of no return", with that exact phrasing. There's a save point beyond the final and literal point of no return. If you save there and don't have a backup save that's outside of the area, you're trapped in the final dungeon until you begin a New Game+.
  • In 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:
    • 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 of difficulty level, the game would warn you of this. On the easiest level the game literally would not allow you to proceed if you didn't have all the necessary items. Ironically, this led to a game breaking bug, since it was possible to have lost one of the necessary items by having already used it for its intended purpose.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 
  • 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.
  • 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 these a strategy for infected players to use in VS mode.
  • In Postal 2 and the Expansion Pack, 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.
  • Quake II allowed you to move freely between levels in one of the several "units" (hubs) making up the bulk of the game, but once you passed through the exit of a unit you could not return (and the first time the game would warn you about this). Also, the teleporter in the Upper Palace was a more definitive Point Of No Return — once you passed through it you went to the final boss arena on Stroggos' moon and could never come back. Unlike in earlier id Software shooters, this can be a problem because you could stockpile items for use later instead of using them the moment you picked them up.
  • System Shock 2's Point of No Return is when the player enters the Body of the Many. Before that, the game is 100% backtrack-friendly; if you want, you can walk away from the entrance to the Body of the Many, all the way back to the start of the game.
  • In Turok for the Nintendo 64, once you enter Level 8, The Final Confrontation, you cannot ever return to the Hub Ruins, meaning you will have missed out on the Chronoscepter if you start Level 8 without the other 7 pieces, and this will make the Final Boss fight against The Campaigner MUCH, MUCH more difficult.
  • 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.

    Hack and Slash 
  • 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).

  • Cave Story has the Boss Rush; 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 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.
  • 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: Wastelander, 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 an Autosave of No Return (that's what an in-game prompt actually calls it) 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.
  • 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+ 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In The 7th Guest, once you enter the Attic, there's no going back down.
  • 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 Stellaris and Hearts of Iron IV. 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. Even then, another 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.
    • 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 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+ 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, but you lose access to many locations and people, and from then on you're on a strict time limit. 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 also has a soft point of no return after starting the Landsmeet, upon which some quests and locations became unavailable. However, the real point of no return is travelling to Redcliffe after finishing the Landsmeet, which puts you, again, on a one-way fast track to the end. More specifically, deciding to enter Redcliffe Castle and learning that the Archdemon is leading the Darkspawn horde to Denerim is what ultimately restricts you from going back to do anything. Additionally, securing the help of one of the factions for the coming fight seals off the town of Lothering, which, storywise, has been overrun by the Blight. Also, if you go to the Circle of Magi and agree to enter the tower, the doors shut behind you, forcing you to complete the quest line. You're warned about this, though.
    • In the 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: accepting the letter which gives you the third main quest in this act, and then going to the Gallows, triggers the endgame.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has the Trespasser DLC, weirdly. The base game will let you do every quest after beating the game, but once you start the final DLC, the story skips forward a couple of years, and you're no longer allowed to do sidequests without loading a previous save, even after finishing the DLC.
  • 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).
  • 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 has the Skuldafn temple as this. The only way to get there is by riding a dragon, and he tells you he can't stay there.
  • In 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 I, 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.
  • 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 Final Fantasy I, it's when you examine the orb in the Temple of Chaos once the 4 Crystals are lit. Unless you have the Exit Spell.
    • 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.
    • Averted in Final Fantasy IV, where you can turn back at any point prior to activating the cutscene leading into the final boss battle, although considering that this is at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon it's a bit of a trek to get back.
    • Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI have these at the ends of their respective Disc One Final Dungeons, or shortly thereafter in the case of V's first PoNR.
    • 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 Aeris 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 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 is, like its predecessor, nasty and a half; the game offers you a save at Ambervale, but if you do so there's no going back - and you can't take on the final boss unless you save. If you assume it's just a nice save place, without realising it's a one-way trip, you will get wiped if you're underleveled.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake has 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 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.
  • Golden Sun:
    • In Golden Sun: The Broken Seal you can save during the scene after you beat the final boss, which prevents you from doing anything else in the game. The second game does not allow you to save during that scene.
    • 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 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.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • I has Final Rest in End of the World, which contains the game's last save point. Going beyond it leads you to Destiny Islands, where you have your confrontation with the Final Boss, Ansem.
    • 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 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).
    • Pictured above, the last free area in II is atop the highest tower of the castle in The World That Never Was. The area has a Big Door leading to Kingdom Hearts, 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 Xion. Once you defeat her, a cutscene follows, after which comes the Final Boss, Riku, in The World That Never Was.
    • Birth By Sleep notably doesn't do this, at least not overtly. It pretty well implies that the final boss is at Keyblade Graveyard but upon going there you can still run around and leave until you enter an otherwise unimportant looking area which will immediately thrust you into your respective character's 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 Bonus Boss 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: 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 Climax Boss, Young Xehanort, who is immediately followed by the Final Boss, Armored Ventus Nightmare. That said, if you don't beat the final boss, Sora's story will forever be locked out for you.
    • 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.
  • Knights of the Old Republic did this several times, with little to no warning before hand: accepting Canderous' offer to help you infiltrate Davik Kang's estate seals off the rest of Taris; finding the third Star Map seals off Dantooine; heading to the Star Forge seals off the rest of the galaxy.
    • In Knights of the Old Republic II (made by Obsidian), going to the Jedi Council room on Dantooine after gathering together or killing the surviving Council members put 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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?
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect had a softer version, though there is no warning for it. After completing Therum, Feros, Noveria and Virmire, the heroes manages to discover Saren's destination is the lost Prothean planet of Ilos. However, visiting the Citadel temporarily sealed off the rest of the Galaxy, until you got the Normandy back under your command. The Citadel remained sealed off after that. Setting course for Ilos, however, put 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.note 
    • Mass Effect 3:
      • The main game has a two-stage "endgame", the first stage being the assault on Cerberus HQ. Admiral Hackett warns you that once you start, you're committed — there's no going back. After that mission, you go back to the Normandy, but you have only one place left to go from there: Earth. Additionally, there's a minor (but fairly nasty) example; completing the Tuchanka arc causes Cerberus to attack the Citadel, and after that many available sidequests are permanently closed off.
      • From Ashes DLC: Finish Javik's recruitment mission without gathering all the Eden Prime intel? Better start a new game if you want that achievement.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Visiting Khi Tasira locks you in to the storyline's conclusion. 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.
    • 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 the final boss, as Magicant disappears once you talk to Queen Mary to teach her the song. If you lose to the final boss, certainly do not save or you will have to fight through the mountain full of Demonic Spiders to reach him again.
    • In EarthBound, 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 is Tough, but an interesting Tough; after meeting Emil, you take an innocuous quest to grab some flowers fromnear 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+ 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • Pokémon Reborn includes a Polite one as you head to Agate City—you won't be able to return until you get Fly, several Badges later.
  • 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 has one, sort of: 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. Of course, Epona provides an opportunity to rest near the end.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Every time you leave a location in China in Shadow Hearts (with the exception of Shanghai), you leave for good. After Dehuai's tower, you leave China for good.
  • 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 Cathedral. 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.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: 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 23rd December for the Christmas Eve date if you finish the dungeon early enough.
      • 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 dungeon'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. However, you are given the option to go back one week should you lose against the boss, in case you jumped into it before you were ready (and so preventing Unwinnable situations). Also, once you beat the boss, you won't be able to explore the dungeon again, but most enemies that are encountered there will be available in newly-unlocked segments of 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. 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 progress her Confidant if you ignore it for long enough.
      • 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.
      • Played with near the end of the game. On Christmas Eve, you're forced into Mementos to travel to the newly unlocked Mementos Depths. Caroline can provide free healing at the entrance and you can leave to go shop at certain shops, but otherwise, you're stuck until you clear Mementos. However, after the 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.
  • 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 Sonic Chronicles, 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+ allowing you to get everything you missed, or miss it again.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • 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-Naught Fortress at the end of chapter 7 locks you out of it until after the 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 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.
  • Undertale: It depends on the route:
    • On Neutral, defeating Asgore. Once he is taken care of, Flowey hijacks the game, and any subsequent attempts at opening the game are met with the Final Boss since said boss 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 locked inside after entering, and once you escape, you're stuck in New Home to fight the True Final Boss.
    • 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 the game crashes after the Fallen Child attacks. This one is much more severe - after this, if you decide to play again, you have to sell the protagonist's SOUL in order to restore the game, permanently tainting future Pacifist endings and altering additional future Genocide endings.
    • The Ruins will be permanently sealed off after you leave. You can miss out on getting a slice of pie from Toriel and getting some spider food from the local spider bake sale if you didn't get them before leaving the Ruins; both items will make certain boss fights easier.
  • 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+.
  • 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.
  • The Goblin and Pandaren starting zones in World of Warcraft 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.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 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+:
    • 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 Definite 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.
  • 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!"

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.

    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+ 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.

    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: 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.
  • X-COM:
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
      • Entering the Gollop Chamber with your top psychic soldier will start the final sequence. However, the game is pretty merciful and warns you several times that you won't be able to do anything but attack the Temple Ship from that point on. Any ongoing R&D will stop, and no more UFOs will show up. In fact, the first time you try to do this, one of the characters will outright tell you that she feels that activating the Chamber will mark the beginning of the end.
      • A more nasty variant of this trope comes into play in the expansion pack Enemy Within: 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'll warn you beforehand that you'll be headed straight to the endgame. However, what triggers the penultimate mission in the first place is a research that gives no such warning.
    • 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.

    Visual Novel 
  • 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.

  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • The Trope Namer dates to the age of sailing. Ships could only hold so much in the way of supplies to keep its occupants fed and hydrated, and would only account for getting there, not turning around to come back. If they had gotten too far out by the time they decided to abort, they would likely starve or die of dehydration before they got back, so the only option was to keep going anyway and hope for the best. The point at which turning around to head home instead of wherever they were trying to go in the first place would be more dangerous than just continuing onward came to be known as the point of no return.
  • The Space Shuttle worked like this. During reentry, the shuttle glided the entire way, meaning that the pilots had only one chance to land it successfully. Considering that the shuttle touches down at 300+ kilometers per hour, a failure would mean death unless the astronauts could successfully crash-land it without it breaking apart. Same goes with the Space Shuttle landing gear. The gear had a single-use hydraulic and couldn't be retracted once down. If the gear was deployed too early, the shuttle would crash short of the runway. If the gear was deployed too late, the shuttle would overrun the runway. And crash.
  • In aviation, this term refers to the point where the pilot must continue to the destination because there isn't enough fuel to carry him back to where he started. It's also the point during takeoff when the plane is too far down the runway for the pilot to abort without going off the end of the runway. Known as "V1" when you've reached the velocity at which you've committed to rotate and take-off, even in the event of engine failure, at which point you have to reach "V2" which is the speed to safely climb when one of the engines on a multi-engine craft have failed.
  • The event horizon of a black hole is defined as the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape its gravitational pull and will fall into the singularity. Eventually whatever falls in will be spat back out as hawking radiation, but of course that's of no consolation.
  • The Rubicon was considered the point of no return in the days of The Roman Republic. The Rubicon river was one of the borders of Rome, and it was a capital offense for Roman generals to cross the river with his army; they had to be disbanded first. This was intended to protect Rome from potential coups, but all that changed when Julius Caesar marched his legion past the river, knowing he and his men were committing a capital offense, and it was do or die from then on. Legend has it that he hesitated on whether to cross the line, and when he decided to cross it he uttered the phrase, "The die is cast." He won the civil war that followed and was sparked by his crossing, though, which of course made sure that he was never charged with the crime.
  • On the Appalachian Trail in the U.S. running from Georgia to Maine, the traditional direction is northward. Unlike the rest of the trail which tends to pass through towns reasonably regularly, the final stretch is rather appropriately called The Hundred Mile Wilderness, which is a Meaningful Name in and of itself, but also can fall under Names to Run Away from Really Fast for novice hikers. At each end there are signs warning that it shouldn't be attempted without at least ten days of supplies, as there's no way to get further supplies once you're in. It's remote enough that anyone who injures themselves seriously has to be air-lifted out by helicopter, if they can properly locate you in time...


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