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Where It All Began

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It took 10 years and 38 levels to get that door open.

"Why are you so surprised? You have wandered in great circles across the planes in these countless lives you have lived. Such symmetry. Such futility. Go now, back to where it began. Go back, and die."

Your rookie hero has left his hometown to answer the call. He learns from his mentor, fights minions, develops some really flashy attacks, perhaps takes down The Dragon, and angsts a lot. But now it's time to face the Big Bad, and what better place to do it than back at his hometown, Where It All Began?

Alternatively, Where It All Began can be where the Big Bad first struck. Sometimes this and the hero's home are one and the same; that's why the hero was chosen.

There's a certain poetic symmetry to the idea that the hero's journey is a circular one, and indeed, returning home for the final showdown is often referred to as "coming full circle." It also reminds the audience (and the hero, who may take a moment to reminisce) how much the hero has grown since the last time we were here.

But most importantly, it means the producers get to use the old sets again.


Compare Here We Go Again!, Bookends, Go Back to the Source, Final Dungeon Preview, and Brick Joke. So Near, Yet So Far is a variant where even the final climactic goal is known and likely even visible from the start, but you can't accomplish that goal until the finale. Not related to When It All Began; that is a chronology trope (although Time Travel can cause them to overlap, specifically in cases of Set Right What Once Went Wrong).

This is an Ending Trope, so Unmarked Spoilers Ahoy.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angelic Layer (manga only), Hikaru and Athena fight on a flat Layer, just like the one that Hikaru first fought on and the one that Athena used when she inspired Misaki to create Hikaru. This despite the fact that this entire Tournament Arc used elaborate terrain layers.
  • In Attack on Titan, the city of Shighanshina is where the Colossal and Armored Titans first appeared and breached the Walls. Five years later, both are defeated in battle against the Survey Corps. Notably, Eren and Armin are the ones to bring down the Colossal Titan, while Mikasa strikes the final blow to defeat the Armored Titan. Reiner narrowly escapes thanks to his superiors, while Bertolt is abandoned to his fate. He's later Eaten Alive, allowing Armin to inherit the power of the Colossal Titan.
  • In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, the final battle between Chrono and Aion takes place in the demon world of Pandaemonium — the place Chrono first decided to join Aion over 50 years ago.
  • In Claymore Raki returns to his hometown after the seven year Time Skip as a badass Yoma-asskicking warrior. And yet they still talk shit about him. Raki sets them straight, though.
  • The final scene of the first El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA takes place at Shinonome High School, where Ifurita first encountered Makoto in the present.
  • The Final Battle of Fairy Tail between Ishgal's wizards and Acnologia takes place in Hargeon, the same Port Town where Lucy first met Natsu and Happy at the beginning of the series. She makes note of this to Happy, since part of the reason for the battle is to save Natsu and the other Dragon Slayers from the Space Between Time, essentially "meeting" Natsu again.
  • In Fist of the North Star, the final battle between Kenshiro and Raoh over Yuria takes place at the Hokuto Renkitouza, which is the place where the three of them met as children.
    • The final story arc of the manga (which went beyond the Shura story arc the anime adaptation concluded the series with) is set at the same village where Kenshiro met Bat and Lin.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) had Liore, also lampshaded in Episode 41 with a bar in Liore called Motherland.
  • Subverted in Full Metal Panic! when, just as Mithril is making its final preparations to recapture Merida Island, Amalgam seizes a Soviet nuclear missile base in Badakhsha, Afghanistan, and threatens to launch its arsenal. Having basically grown up in the middle of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Sousuke considers the location to be utterly life-defining...which leads him to realize that Amalgam chose the location specifically to lead Sousuke away from the actual battle he's needed for so that Leonard can enact his plan without Mithril's trump card, the Laevatein, around to counter him. Thus, Sousuke decides to let the rest of Mithril's SRT handle Afghanistan while he and Tessa themselves confront Leonard at Merida.
  • Kagome, from Inuyasha, was first sucked into Feudal Japan via the Bone Eater's well. This is where Naraku's (and the Shikon Jewel's) final destruction takes place.
  • The final showdown in Martian Successor Nadesico takes place on Mars, the place where the Jovians first attacked and Akito's Doomed Hometown from the prologue. And in The Movie, they go back there again for the final battle against a (slightly) different opponent.
  • The final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 does this not with a location, but with its Humongous Mecha. It is not between overpowered machines and a culmination of the Lensman Arms Race. No, it is Setsuna reclaiming his old Gundam Exia, his first machine he used, going up against Ribbons using a suspiciously-recolored 0 Gundam, the first ever made using the first GN Drive. Made doubly more interesting since Ribbons is Evil Amuro due to his voice actor and the latter Gundam is a deliberate homage to the original RX-78-2.
  • The Wild Goose Chase for Laplace's Box in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn begins and ends in the very same space colony: Industrial 7.
  • In Naruto, the final duel between Naruto and Sasuke takes place at the Valley of the End, where they both fought once before as children and where their past incarnations Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha also battled long ago.
  • In One Piece, Pirate King Gold Roger was finally brought to execution at his home town, Logue Town. For this reason Logue Town is known as "The Town of the Beginning and the End." It's even a themed name, as it refers to prologue and epilogue.
    • Twenty-two years later, the protagonist Luffy arrives at Logue Town. He is captured and placed in a stockade, ironically on the very execution stand upon which the Pirate King died. There, he proclaims that he will be the Pirate King, and as Buggy's sword came down to end his life, he apologizes to his crew...and smiles, echoing the death of the previous Pirate King. At this point, Luffy is saved by dumb luck (lighting strikes Buggy), and his act of defiance spurs Smoker, a marine captain, who witnessed the Pirate King's execution decades before, to chase after him. Thus, Where It All Began is where the adventure begins again, but this time, with a new Pirate King.
  • The obsessive collector in Pokémon 2000 quotes this at the end, when he finds the first card he ever collected in the smashed ruins of everything else he collected.
    "How it all began. And how it will begin, again."
  • In Ranma ½, the eponymous hero (and quite a few of his friends/rivals) first acquired his curse at the Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo. The final arc involves returning to Jusenkyo to prevent the villains from draining it (and thus destroying a possible cure to the curses).
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, the secret behind the Rose Gate turns out to be Anthy's resting place as the witch impaled by the million swords...which is where Utena first made her pledge to become a prince and save her as a child. Since the series is a bit of a Mind Screw and full of Character Development, even Utena doesn't remember the importance of it until about three episodes before the finale.
  • The Promised Neverland: The final act occurs with Emma and the other returning to confront Peter Ratri and end the conflict with the Demons at Grace Field House, where they escaped from at the beginning.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- ends in Clow Country, where it all began. Specifically, at the eponymous reservoir, where the wheels of fate were torn asunder by the foolishness of love gone astray in the backstory.

    Comic Books 
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In many stories where the heroes have to travel across the city or the world, the last chapter takes place on the T.I.A. headquarters, where they were assigned their mission.
  • "Everything You Know About The Powerpuff Girls is Wrong" (DC run) has the kids of Pokey Oaks Kindergarten swapping stories of how the girls first came about, using the origins of Superman, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four as parallels. When the girls themselves interject how the really came about, they get a failing grade as the kids were taking part in a creative writing lesson.
  • Red Sonja's Queen of Plagues arc opens with Sonja and Annisia in the fighting pit of the King of Zamora and stages the climactic fight in the same place under similar circumstances.
  • Dynamite's The Shadow Girasol arc started in New York City, and after traveling the world, returns to NYC for the finale.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Home on the Range, the final battle against Alameda Slim takes place on Little Patch of Heaven, which Maggie, Grace, and Mrs. Calloway all left at the start of their adventure in order to save it.
  • In Kubo and the Two Strings, Kubo fights the Big Bad, the Moon King, in the ruins of the village where he used to spend his days. The battle actually ends at the nearby graveyard, however — which also happens to be where the Moon King's forces first go after Kubo.
  • Kung Fu Panda almost ended like this. The Wuxi Finger Hold was still going to happen, only Po and Tai Lung would crash land in Po's bedroom, where Tai Lung would see all the Furious Five merchandise, and be confused. Basically the script would not change aside from taking place in a different location. The writers moved the final confrontation to outside Ping's noodle shop, since the original version did not make as much sense.
    • Played straight in the third film. After defeating Kai and being made the new master of the Jade Palace by Oogway, Po trains the others to use Chi in the Palace Arena, the same place where he was chosen to be the Dragon Warrior in the first film.
  • The Lion King ends with Simba returning to the Pride Lands to defeat Scar and take his rightful place as king.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted has the climax take place at the Central Park Zoo, the same place that Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria left in the first movie.
  • The final battle in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) takes place in Canterlot, which was the starting location of not only the film, but the series.
  • In Puss in Boots, the titular cat's journey ultimately leads him straight back to the village of San Ricardo, his hometown. And it's there, on the same bridge outside of town, where Puss once again finds himself having to choose between his loyalty to the village and his brother Humpty.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The protagonist of 28 Days Later is introduced lying in a hospital bed and ends up in a similar setting towards the end of the film. The DVD commentary explains that it was deliberately done to invoke this trope (i.e., going full circle).
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron opens with the Avengers attacking HYDRA at Sokovia. The final battle with Ultron also takes place in Sokovia.
  • Marty's destination in Back to the Future is to get back to where the movie started. We even get to see a scene from the beginning of the movie again at the end.
  • Both versions of The Butterfly Effect. The original does it well when the main character goes back to the birthday party where he first met the love of his life and gets her to not want to see him again effectively erasing her from his life, but the director's cut takes it to the ultimate extreme where the main character commits suicide by strangling himself (in utero!)
  • In a cruel twist of fate, the test subjects in Cube learn that the exit room was the very room they started out in, making their trek through the titular deathtrap dungeon a pointless waste of time and human life.
  • The Fugitive starts out at a hospital benefit at a swanky Chicago hotel, and ends at a similar conference at another one.
  • The first and third films of The Hangover trilogy mostly take place in Las Vegas. The Wolfpack even shows some annoyance that similar crap is happening to them for the third time.
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers: Loomis and Jamie set up a trap for Michael in Michael's childhood home, the place of his Start of Darkness.
  • The final fight of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes place right at the gingerbread house where the original story and the movie's prologue ended. The witch even uses the trope name when she comments on it. Hansel and Gretel react with an understandable "You've gotta be fucking kidding me."
  • Highlander ends with Connor returning with Brenda to Scotland, where he was born.
  • Highwaymen: In the opening, a Serial Killer named Fargo uses his car to run over the protagonist James Cray's wife. To spite Cray, Fargo kidnaps Molly, a lone victim whom Cray saved, and returns to the now abandoned motel (which Fargo bought in the intervening years) where he initially killed Cray's late wife to play the murder out again.
  • The film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has its climax and ending in Arthur's home.
  • James Bond film The Living Daylights begins in Gibraltar and after much business in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Afghanistan and Pakistan ends in Tangier, just three dozen miles southwest.
  • The Last Sharknado: It's About Time 's last scene takes place in Fin's bar from the first film, but because they've been erased from history, there's no sharknado this time around.
  • Lord of Illusions opens in the Cultists' compound in the Mojave desert before moving to Los Angeles, and the climax takes us back there when Nix is revived.
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter sees Alice return to the Hive underneath Raccoon City, where the series started.
  • Saw: Happens a ridiculous amount of times throughout the franchise.
    • Saw features a duo of cops attempting to arrest the infamous Jigsaw Killer at his hideout, which is where the now solo cop, his partner died in the first attempt to apprehend him, officer pursues him to yet again near the end.
    • Saw II drops the bombshell that the entire film took place in the same area as the first movie, and that the bathroom (the centerpiece of the original film) is merely one room in its catacombs.
    • Saw 3D. It is revealed that Dr. Gordon from the original films survived and was nursed back to health by the Jigsaw Killer to aid him as an apprentice. His final task was to lock another apprentice in the same bathroom he was chained to in the first film.
  • The Secret of Moonacre's climax takes place at the clifftop where the Moon Princess married Sir Wrolf Merryweather.
  • Star Wars:
    • The first movie of the Original Trilogy, A New Hope, begins on Tatooine, and the last movie of the Prequels ends there, so that probably counts, if you look at the films in order of production rather than in terms of in-universe chronology. Of course, the fact remains that we end up going to this desert middle-of-nowhere in five out of the six movies means we keep going back to where it all began.
    • It doesn't conclude the movie, but Luke returns to his home planet of Tatooine for Return of the Jedi.
    Luke: I used to live here, you know.
    Han: You're going to die here, you know. Convenient.
    • The Rise of Skywalker brings the whole Skywalker Saga full circle, as in its last scene, Rey returns to the moisture farm on Tatooine to bury Luke and Leia's lightsabers, with the very last shot being her and BB-8 looking out at the setting suns just like Luke did back in the original film.

  • Happened in the Codex Alera series. In the first book, Tavi is a young, powerless shepherd who takes shelter from a storm full of angry air elementals in a prince's tomb. In the final book, he has now learned to use his vast power and learned his true identity as the son of that very prince, and he pursues the Vord Queen across the landscape, finally killing her at his father's tomb, using two immensely powerful elementals to weaken her.
  • Curtain, the last Hercule Poirot novel, is set in Styles Court, where the first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, took place.
  • The Da Vinci Code starts out in the Louvre, and we end up back at the Louvre only to discover that the museum is the final resting place of Mary Magdelene.
  • In the first Deltora Quest series, Lief and co. traveled back to Del after they gathered the seven gems of the Belt of Deltora to drive back the Shadow Lord from their land with the power of the belt and heir, Dain.
    • In the third series' last book, The Sister of the South, Lief and co. came back to Del once they figured out the last deadly Sister was inside the capital.
  • In Dragon Bones the protagonist leaves castle Hurog, travels far away from home...and in the end, it is all about the eponymous dragon bones, which he has already seen at the start of the novel. The villains meet their end in the very cave where Ward found the dragon bones.
  • The final showdown in Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe takes place in the same casino where the novel started.
  • In the Harry Potter series, "where it all began" is Hogwarts. For both Harry and Voldemort it's the place where they first felt at home and free from their confining upbringings. Of course, Hogwarts is where 90% of the series takes place, but Harry spends the last book, Deathly Hallows, away from school on a MacGuffin hunt, only to eventually realize he must return there for the last one. Voldemort figures out what he's up to at the same time, and events snowball into a Grand Finale Battle Royale.
    • When Harry is hit by Voldemort's killing curse in the Forbidden Forest, he finds himself in King's Cross Station, where his new life truly began.
  • T. S. Eliot's poem "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets) includes these lines:
    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
  • The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings can only be destroyed in the same place it was created.
    • Also, the Scouring of the Shire (for the books only), in which Saruman is defeated for good in the hobbits' homeland.
    • Sam speaks the very last words of the story in Bag End, where Bilbo was right at the beginning of The Hobbit.
  • Simon, the lead of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, starts out as a kitchen boy in the Hayholt and is forced to flee when his mentor is slain by The Dragon. He finally returns after a long and circuitous path to confront the Big Bad who has taken the place for his stronghold.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan has the protagonist going back to his hometown to battle Steve in the 11th and 12th books. Same with The Movie, although much, much sooner.
  • Downplayed in The Seven Citadels. The final sorcerer Kerish needs to find is in his homeland of Galkis — but living deep in an unexplored jungle, nowhere near any place Kerish has been before.
  • This happens twice in Soul Music. Susan goes back to the mountain road where her parents died in a coach accident in the prologue of the book: the first time using Time Travel to witness the crash and confront Death (her maternal grandfather) about his letting her parents die; the second time to save Buddy and his band from going over the edge in the same spot.
  • Lampshaded in-universe in Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet, when Matt and Tex return to the academy ship PRS Randolph:
    Matt and Tex showed their orders to the officer of the watch and left with him the inevitable copies. He gave them their rooming assignments—in Hog Alley, in a room with a different number but otherwise like the one they had had. "Seems like we never left it," remarked Tex, as he unpacked his jump bag.
  • Two of the books in the Shatnerverse of the Star Trek novels end this way. Star Trek: Avenger goes back to Tarsus IV, where a very young James Kirk survived the purges of Kodos. Star Trek: Preserver is the ending of the "Mirror Universe Sage" and ends at Halkan, the planet where Kirk first encountered the Mirror Universe.
  • A character arc went like this in Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove. Francois Kersauzon's story starts in the fortress of Noveau Redon. One long military campaign against the English later, and he is waiting out a siege. The siege ends with the English destroying the source of the fort's spring. This forces Kersauzon to move against them. He dies.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Faith & Fire, Vaun's Back Story brings him back to where it all began; he explains, early in the novel, that he has been brought back to his birth place to deal with unfinished business.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The Clans settle by a lake when their home is destroyed. Turns out that their ancestors (from way before the Clans ever formed) had lived in the exact same spot.
    • In Graystripe's Vow, Graystripe, the only cat that's been around since the first book in the series, decides to travel back to the place the Clans originally lived, where he was born. It's nostalgic and bittersweet for both him and the readers.

    Live Action TV 
  • The series finale of Alias involves a return to Mount Subasio, which was last featured in the first season when it played a significant role in launching the series' Myth Arc.
  • Invoked in the Season 5 finale of Arrow, as Prometheus kidnaps all of Oliver's loved ones and takes them to Lian Yu, the island Oliver spent most of his "five years in hell" on; Prometheus' plan is to kill Oliver where his journey towards becoming a hero began. The episode also brings the flashback storyline chronicling those five years to a close, by showing the events leading up to the series' opening shot of Oliver being rescued off the island.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Vision Quest Ash has halfway through the first season tells him that he needs to take the Necronomicon back to the cabin from the original movies and bury it there in order to stop the Deadites for good. The final episodes of the season take place there.
    • The final episodes of Season 2 take this even further, as Ash and co. go back in time to the 80s, to the days before the events of the original movie, to try and prevent it all from happening.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The first season centers around The Master attempting to open the Hellmouth. From then on, no seasonal Big Bad cared about the Hellmouth itself until the last one, who once again attempted to open it. The high school was even rebuilt on top of it at the beginning of the season, allowing the heroes to return there as well.
    • Buffy also had one other Where It All Began with the same location; in "Doomed", a trio of one-episode baddies tries to open the Hellmouth, necessitating a return to the ruins of the original high school. All of the characters comment on the memories, mostly painful, this evokes.
  • Cheers. The series begins with Sam coming out of the backroom and opening the bar. The series ends with Sam closing the bar and walking into the backroom.
  • Bryce's storyline on Chuck ended the second season finale Where It All Began in the pilot: jumping into an Intersect control room to implant a powerful computer in Chuck's brain to keep a Nebulous Evil Organization from doing it to their own people first.
    • The series finale also ends on the same beach where Chuck and Sarah ended their first date, only this time Chuck is telling an amnesiac Sarah to trust him, rather than her telling him.
  • The 20th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, "The Five Doctors," notes at the conclusion, after the newly-appointed president of Gallifrey — the Doctor — bug off in the TARDIS with Tegan and Turlough:
    Tegan: You mean you're running away from your own people in a dilapidated old TARDIS?
    Doctor: Why not? After all, that's how it all started.
    • This seems to have happened in all 10th anniversary specials. "The Three Doctors" ends with the Doctor regaining his freedom to travel in time and space. In the 30th anniversary story for Doctor Who Magazine the First Doctor and Susan are shown leaving Gallifrey. The 40th anniversary story "Zagreus" from Big Finish Doctor Who has the Doctor again leaving Gallifrey, for new adventures in the Divergent Universe. For the 50th anniversary, "The Name of the Doctor" shows the Doctor leaving Gallifrey, while "The Day of the Doctor" reverses this with the Doctor departing to find Gallifrey and saying he has always been going "Home. The long way round." And in the story that started the 25th season "Remembrance of the Daleks" the Doctor returns to Totter's Yard and Coal Hill School where the series began. Also "The Day of the Doctor" begins with a Policeman walking past the Totter's Lane sign and Clara being a teacher at Coal Hill School like the Doctor's earliest new companions. Also a clock she passes at the beginning says 17:16, when the first episode aired.
    • The RTD era of Doctor Who (2005-2010) basically began with the Doctor meeting Rose in the Powell estate in 2005. It ends roughly with the Doctor meeting Rose in the Powell Estate earlier in 2005, though only briefly to prevent her recognising him later.
    • Amy Pond's time on the show began with her meeting the Doctor in her garden at the age of seven. At the end of her final episode, the Doctor goes back to meet the young Amy just after he left and she is shown waiting in the garden for him.
    • After nine series, the Doctor returns to Gallifrey in Hell Bent. Specifically, the barn he lived in as a child.
  • Eureka opens with the protagonist sheriff and his daughter driving into town and seeing themselves driving out of town. In the last scene of the last episode, as they drive out of town, they see themselves driving in.
  • The final showdown of The Fugitive takes place in Kimble's home town of Stafford, Illinois.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga's Final Battle occurred at the mountain where the Grongi were originally sealed.
  • It has been revealed that the final goal of the heroes of Lost is to protect a magical light that is located in the same bamboo grove Jack awoke in in the first episode.
    • The final scene of the series mirrors its beginning, with Jack lying down in the bamboo field. Only this time he closes his eyes as he dies.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy's "Journey's End" ends with the inhabitants of space-station Terra Venture escaping from it to the planet Miranoi, where the Rangers escaped from in the premiere.
    • The ending of Power Rangers RPM has Dillon revisit the lone flower he passed on the way to Corinth now part of a beautiful garden in a healing world.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Season 6 finale "Full Circle" was originally envisioned as a series finale. The series was renewed, so the plot was altered. It still however featured a showdown between SG-1 and Anubis on Abydos, the planet where both the pilot episode took place, as well as the movie.
    • "Moebius", which was also meant to be the series finale, revisited Ancient Egypt under Ra's rule, and Apophis's prison on Chulak from the pilot episode — the alternate timeline SG-1 even got to recruit Teal'c again.
    • Also the climax of Stargate: The Ark of Truth takes place in the City of the Ori, a place that Daniel and Vala visited early on in the ninth season. While not the start of the show itself, it was the start of the Ori storyline.
    • Within the show's story, when the Jaffa kicked the Goa'uld's asses once and for all, the final battle took place on Dakara and they chose Dakara as the capital of their new country; for the express reason that it was also the place where they first became slaves. It was also a significant religious site like Mecca is to Muslims.
  • The Enterprise (NX-01) visits the planet Rigel in the last episode, just like they did in the first.
    • The Next Generation not only had the same villain in the finale as they did in the first episode (Q), but they finished a story thread started in that episode, and through shifting timelines, we got to meet the Enterprise-D as it was in that episode, including the old crew. Picard and Q also face off in the same replica 22nd century courtroom that Q brought him to in that premiere episode. Picard even comments on this in the finale.

  • The final chord played in the song Octavarium by Dream Theater is the same as the first chord on the album. This is referenced by the final line "The story ends where it began."
  • Sabaton's "1648" mentions that Prague was both where the Thirty Years' War started (in the Defenestration of Prague, which kicked off the war) and where its last battle was fought.
  • The penultimate song in Green Day's album American Idiot, aptly titled Homecoming is about the protagonist, a young runaway, finally returning to his home after hitting rock bottom. In the final song he is presumably still there as he tries to move on with his life.
  • Dan + Shay's "19 You + Me" is book-ended by the lyric "It was our first week at Myrtle Beach, where it all began."

    Tabletop Game 
  • The epic Dungeons & Dragons module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil was written as a Spiritual Successor to — what else? — The Temple of Elemental Evil. The players visit a few of the locations in the original game there, including Homlett, Nulb, and the Moathouse, but very little happens in those places (except the Moathouse) and can even visit the infamous Temple if they want, but at first, it seems deserted. Most of the module takes place in another temple complex called the Temple of All Consumption. However, the finale of the adventure does indeed take the heroes back to the true Temple of Elemental Evil for one final titanic battle.
  • The Grand Conjunction adventure-arc for the Ravenloft D&D setting concludes at Castle Ravenloft: site of the award-winning module that originally inspired the game-setting, and of the in-Verse events that created the Land of Mists.

  • The stage adaptation of American Idiot has the two protagonists who left town returning in the second to last scene and each of the play's storylines finally coming together to reach the climax when they do. Specifically Johnny comes home from the city, apparently sober or at least attempting to be, Tunny returns from his military service having lost his leg but with the Extraordinary Girl now his girlfriend, and Will and Heather appear to finally reach a point where they can be friends and raise their baby together despite no longer being a couple when they welcome their friends home.
  • In The Ring of the Nibelung, to save the world the Ring must be returned to the Rhine, from which its gold was stolen in the first scene of Das Rheingold. The final act of Götterdämmerung begins on the banks of that river, and though the scene moves away, the river ultimately moves back in as the Rhinemaidens recover the ring forged from the gold. Reprises of the earliest musical themes of Das Rheingold drive the point home.
    • Also the second act of Das Rheingold showed Valhalla having just been constructed. The final scene also shows Valhalla being burnt down.

    Video Games 
  • In Alpha Protocol, the final mission takes place in the Graybox, Alpha Protocol's headquarters and the site of the game's tutorial mission. This is heavily lampshaded: the final section of the game is entitled "Operation Full Circle" and the Big Bad muses on how appropriate it is that the story's ending in the same place it began in the cutscenes preceding the mission.
  • Around the World in 80 Days: Days 1 to 7 take place in England, where Fogg has to get items necessary for travel. Much later, day 81 takes places back in England, where Fogg has to get golden rings for his wedding with Aouda, beginning the last level of the game.
  • The last ruin you explore in Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy, the Ethereal Dragon's Coffin, is located in the depths of the Mausoleum of Eternity, which is the first ruin you explore. There's a wall which blocks you from advancing past the first room until near the end of the game.
  • Batman: Arkham Series
    • Batman: Arkham City does this in a way. The final boss battle takes place at the theater Bruce Wayne attended on the night of his parents' murder, bringing it back to where it began not for the events of the game, but for Batman himself.
    • Just before that, you enter the very same chamber Bruce Wayne was imprisoned in in the beginning of the game en route to Wonder Tower. After the scene in wonder tower, you head to the theater, which, of course, is near the spot where Bruce's parents were killed, which is supposed to be one of the first easter eggs the player finds as Hugo Strange leaves a tape there for you in the beginning of the game. "It will end where it began" indeed.
    • Batman: Arkham Asylum also does this in a way with the Joker's makeshift lair, which is hidden in the extremely creepy Visitor's Center. The first time the player visits it, a cutscene plays where Joker taunts Batman and foreshadows dangers to come, and the player can continue to visit it throughout the game to hear him comment on events if they choose. The penultimate message the player can get is the Joker laughing at them on loop as a lead-up to the Joker boss battle. Additionally, the large Joker gateway over its entrance continues to be built throughout the game, only being fully completed by the end of the night, and once the player enters the visitor's center at that point, the doors lock behind them, a cutscene ensues, and the game finally comes full circle.
    • Apparently, the Arkham series loves this trope, because in Batman: Arkham Origins the final confrontation with Bane and Joker takes place at Blackgate Prison, where the game began.
    • And Batman: Arkham Knight does it twice during the endgame — first off, the final confrontation with Scarecrow takes place in the ruins of Arkham Asylum, and then a hallucination takes Batman to Crime Alley. Furthermore, the game's opening cutscene takes place in Pauli's Diner, which can be seen during the opening cutscene of Arkham Asylum — where the series itself began.
  • Very popular in Bioware/Obsidian Entertainment games:
    • Baldur's Gate II: Irenicus returns to the place he first turned to evil, in order to finish what he started.
    • Neverwinter Nights: You begin in the city of Neverwinter. The final areas take you back to the city with the Plot Coupons you've collected to open up the caverns below the castle of the city's ruler. In the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, the final battle takes place outside the Inn you woke up in at the start of the game.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Zhjaeve takes the player to reforge the Silver Sword of the Githyanki where it was originally broken long before the game started: in West Harbor. Which also happens to be the place where the game started, and the player's Doomed Hometown. And again in Mask of the Betrayer, where the final level is in a dreamscape version of West Harbor.
    • Jade Empire: The player's Last Stand is held at the temple of Dirge, where the Spirit monks were all killed before the beginning of the game. It's also straight up invoked by Master Li, who sends you to a dream-version of Two Rivers and forces you to fight your fellow students as the school burns around you.
    • But subverted in Baldur's Gate: Your hero returns from Baldur's Gate to the hometown of Candlekeep in what appears to be the last chapter, only to be sent to Baldur's Gate again for the final showdown.
    • In Mass Effect you face the Big Bad and Dragon on the Citadel, the space station what was where you were at the end of the tutorial-linear opening of the game.
      • In Mass Effect 2, the sandbox opens in the same system as the Omega-4 Relay, which is the only way to access the Collector Base.
      • For Legion, who is strongly implied to be the first geth to take up arms against their creators (when the latter decided to begin genocide of the former), their story begins and ends on Rannoch, the quarian homeworld.
      • Mass Effect 3 starts on Earth and ends on Earth. Not only that, the first game also began in Earth orbit.
      • DLC for Mass Effect 3, "From Ashes", includes a mission on Eden Prime, where the very first mission in the very first game took place.
    • In Planescape: Torment: the gateway to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon turns out to be in the Mortuary where the game started, just a few feet from where the main character woke up at the beginning of the whole thing. Turns out that the crazy guy outside the mortuary at the beginning of the game was foreshadowing something different when he told you that you'd been in, and out, of there before. It can even get lampshaded as an option, as one of the keys to enter is to write down a regret on a scrap of skin, and "I regret that I wandered all over the Planes when the damn portal was right here when I FIRST woke up" is perfectly valid.
    • In Icewind Dale the heroes All Meet In An Inn in a little town. They leave on their quest, then return in the final chapter to discover the main villain has been making himself at home while they were gone.
    • Players with the City Elf background in Dragon Age: Origins will revisit the Alienage as part of the final battle. (The Dwarf origins and the Mage origin both return to where it began, and players with the Return to Ostagar DLC can, of course, return to Ostagar, but none of these take place at the end of the game.)
    • In the series' lore, when King Calenhad Theirin waged his war of unification in the land that became Ferelden, his first campaign led him back to the city of Highever, his home and birthplace, and he defeated the Couslands, making them the first to bend the knee to him.
    • In the Witch Hunt DLC, the Dalish Warden returns to the broken mirror that tainted him/her. You can literally reply to Ariane that it's the place where everything began.
    • In Dragon Age II the Final Battle takes place in the Gallows, the first part of Kirkwall Hawke sees when the family fled Lothering years ago.
    • In Knights of the Old Republic, the entire quest consists of Revan retracing his/her steps, only to end up back on the Starforge. In the sequel, The Sith Lords, the Exile also has to retrace his/her steps, returning to many of the key locations of the Mandalorian War, and ending on the ruins of Malachor V, the world the Exile destroyed to stop the Mandalorians and save the galaxy, the act which transformed the Exile into a hole in the Force.
    • The final story mission in Dragon Age: Inquisition take place on the floating remains of the Temple of Sacred Ashes, where the PC awakened in the prologue.
  • In the expansion to Black and White II, the last island is the ruins of the Greek homeland, which you were forced to evacuate at the beginning of the main game. It still has the volcanoes that were summoned to destroy your first city.
  • The final level of Blender Bros is your Player Headquarters, the base of the Cosmo Keepers. The bad guys invade your base, and it's up to Blender to rescue his friends.
  • Bloodborne: Remember the locked gate in Hunter's Dream? This is the place where you put Gehrman out of his misery.
  • Borderlands:
    • Borderlands 1 DLC Claptrap's New Robot Revolution ends in Fyrestone, the place where the Vault Hunters met the Claptrap that would be the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap and the place where they started the game.
    • Borderlands 2 brings you back to Fyrestone, the first area of the first game, in the penultimate mission of the main campaign.
  • Bravely Default has its final dungeon located inside the Great Chasm, former sight of Tiz's hometown and directly next to the starting town.
  • Bravely Second does it three times over:
    • The first run of the game ends with a Downer Ending that prompts Yew to break the fourth wall and beg you to invoke this trope by name, as he never even got a chance to fight the Big Bad outside of the opening cutscene. Using New Game+, you can oblige him and bring the full-strength party back to the opening cutscene to have your showdown there.
    • The true final dungeon is accessed via the Great Chasm again, taking things back to the start of the first game.
    • Inside the Great Chasm is the Celestial Realm, also known as our world, with you visible through the 3DS camera, meaning it goes back to where you first turned on the game console.
  • In Breath of Fire II, the cave at the back of the hero's childhood hometown is the entrance to the final dungeon. Anything more would be spoilery.
  • At the very start of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, your character is dropped into the Abyss while standing in front of the door to Dracula's inner sanctum. The entire rest of the game is a quest to get the key to that same door, behind which is the final encounter with Dracula.
  • After completing The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in Chrono Cross, the portal to the final boss opens up on Opassa Beach, which is just off the silent protagonist's hometown, and where he attempted to meet his girlfriend at the very beginning of the game.
  • In Contra Shattered Soldier one of the final stages is located Galuga Archipelago. The Stage Select screen even says, "This is where it all began before, and where we can put a close to this war."
  • Crysis: The first game starts you landing on Lingshan, and the final cutscene other than The Stinger has you return to Lingshan.
  • Firelink Shrine serves as this to the entire Dark Souls trilogy as this is the beginning hub where the Chosen Undead begins their quest in earnest in Lordran. Then, in Dark Souls III, the Ashen One must return to Firelink Shrine in order to reach the final battle. In another twist, the final battle is with the Lord of Cinders, who contains the soul of the Chosen Undead themselves, making it come full-circle in more ways than one.
  • Dawn of Mana begins and ends with a chase through The Lost Woods...but the second time around, you're going after the evil Sorceress after she's pulled a Grand Theft Me on Ritzia and the monsters have all been corrupted by Echoes.
  • Devil May Cry 4: In a way. The whole game started at the church to when Nero was heading. By the end, Nero and Dante fight Sanctus and "The Savior" near the very same church.
  • The final battle of Deus Ex: Invisible War takes place on Liberty Island, the exact same place the first level of the original Deus Ex took place. The map design is even incredibly similar, although alterations were made due to the limits of the console-based engine of Deus Ex 2.
  • Digimon World 3: The final battle takes place in an almost identical equivalent of the building where the player first arrived in the Digital World.
  • The final episode of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice takes place in the same location as the first episode (Though it's been remodeled from a fairly typical castle into a futuristic looking palace). The final battle of the Raspberyl story takes place in the same location.
  • Dynasty Warriors 8 XL makes reference to this during the final stage of Lu Bu's Hypothetical route, Recapture of Chang'an, when Zhang Liao comments that Chang'an was where all of Lu Bu's troubles began, having been forced out of the city earlier in the story. Lu Bu replies that this is different; this time, he is free to do as he wishes on the battlefield.
  • In order to access The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in EarthBound, Ness and his friends not only have to return to Ness' hometown, but have to return to the crash site of the meteorite which set the entire plot in motion. The dungeon isn't there, though: the party needs a piece of the meteorite, which contains a rare mineral, to power the Time Travel machine that will deliver them to the main antagonist's lair. It isn't easy though, as Ness' hometown has become over run with aliens in the meantime.
  • Ecco the Dolphin sets out on a quest to find out what happened to his pod after it is abducted from his home bay. When he discovers they were abducted by aliens, his only decent way of chasing them is to use time travel to return to his home bay at the time of the incident and get abducted with them.
  • The very last scenario of the Russian campaign of Empire Earth is not only at the exact same place as the first, but at the exact same time, as you have betrayed Grigor II and used Time Travel to get there and stop him at the very beginning. Unfortunately for you, Grigor II has done the same to protect the original Grigor and his rise to power, and he's brought much more to bear than you. A Bad Case of Deja Vu indeed.
  • The final chapter of The Evil Within takes place at Beacon Mental Hospital, where the first chapter was. You even pass through part of the sewer system you did back then, access a door you couldn't and even find a note in the same place you found one back then.
  • In Fable, the final boss fight occurs in the Chamber of Fate. Although not technically where the game began, it is where your character is officially made a Hero, so it counts.
  • In Fallout 3 the main character is born at the Jefferson Memorial, but is led to believe he/she was born in Vault 101. Sooner or later, the player storms that same place twice in the main storyline.
    • It goes a lot further than that. If you pay close attention and find all the right logs, you'll realize that the player character (assuming you disregard the expansion) dies on the exact spot where he was conceived - in the reactor room, fixing the problem his parents missed because they were too busy having sex.
    • In addition, one sidequest tasks the player with returning to their old home, Vault 101, to quell a dispute between the residents within concerning opening the vault and venturing out. At the quest's conclusion, the player leaves the vault again, for the last time.
  • The final mission of Far Cry 5 is outright called "Where It All Began", as Joseph is waiting to offer his final deal at the church where you first tried to arrest him. Unfortunatly, neither option really goes your way...
  • Very subtly done in F.E.A.R.. The game's first level is a non-combat tutorial where you search an abandoned building in a run-down neighborhood for the game's The Dragon. At the very end of the game, you emerge from an Elaborate Underground Base into a run down warehouse. If you look out the window, you'll see that you're in the very same neighborhood that the game's first level took place in.
    • Also, the final "confrontation" with Alma takes place in a hallucination of the same building from the game's first level, which is revealed to be the labratory where Alma gave birth to your character.
  • Final Fantasy brings many, many examples:
    • In Final Fantasy, the final task of the Light Warriors, after killing the four elemental Fiends and reviving the power of the Crystals, is to go back to the ruined Temple of Fiends, site of their first quest. Using the power of the Crystals, they travel two thousand years into the past, to the true Temple of Fiends, in order to battle the four Fiends and their master Chaos on their own home turf. And to take it even farther, the Final Boss Chaos and the first boss Garland are the same person. The remakes call the temple the "Chaos Shrine". That's right; Garland's hideout at the beginning of the game is a shrine to himself.
    • For Final Fantasy IV, the game begins with Cecil and the Red Wings flying back to Baron, and on the way is a flashback that explains they're returning from Mysidia after stealing their Crystal. Later in the game Cecil returns to the city and becomes a Paladin, shortly after which he returns to Baron. Then later still, he returns to the tower just behind the Crystal's resting chamber to witness the arrival of the airship that will fly them to the moon, where the Big Bad awaits.
    • In the sequel The After Years, the Mysterious Girl descends to Earth at Baron, and the party gathers their numbers and heads to Baron in the penultimate tale to confront her.
    • In Final Fantasy V, the first scenario is in Castle Tycoon and the journey starts in the kingdom of Tycoon. When the two worlds merge, the Void will absorb Castle Tycoon and leave a dark portal in it's place. This dark portal is the entrance to the Interdimentional Rift, the game's Final Dungeon.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, the final dungeon in the World of Ruin is directly north of the first town you visit, but you have to find your friends and dig up an airship to get in. Said final dungeon is built out of the ruins of Vector. Earlier in the game, the player escapes from Narshe, and after joining the Returners they elect to return to the city, at which point a battle takes place to close the first story arc of the game and begin the next one.
    • Final Fantasy VII pulls off a similar feat. You spend at least a good 7-10 hours in Midgar at the start of the game and then can't get back in after you leave the city completely (unless you find the key to the gate in a mini game much later on and even then, it only lets you back into Sector 5 and 6). Towards the very end of disc 2 after beating Diamond WEAPON, your party parachutes into Midgar to stop Hojo and the music for the chapter is the same one you heard in the beginning of the game when you first started out. On top of that, Barret comments that he kind of misses Midgar after having come back, but then gets angry at himself for longing for a dump run by Shin-Ra.
    • In the spin-off Crisis Core, Zack finds out Genesis's base is under the ruins of Banora, which was bombed in Chapter 2 after the initial confrontation with Genesis.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, it is revealed that the main characters all grew up together at Edea's Orphanage. As part of Odine's gambit to find Ultimecia, far into the future, they allow the Time Compression to occur and then concentrate on returning to the Orphanage in order to emerge from the timestream...only to reveal that Ultimecia's Castle is anchored to it.
    • Thematic parallel: in Final Fantasy X, Tidus' journey begins in Dream Zanarkand, which is then destroyed by Sin. At the end of the game, when the party has gone inside Sin to destroy Braska's Final Aeon, only to find its deepest layers a ruined recreation of Zanarkand. Also, before the fight with Sin, the entire game has been a pilgrimage to the real Zanarkand. Not only that, but when you are traveling to Spira at the beginning of the game, you pass through the same ruined Zanarkand recreation...
    • Final Fantasy XII starts in Rabanastre, a desert city struggling under the rule of the Archadian Empire, which is also home to half of the characters in the main party. The end of the game has the team facing off against the final boss at the top of a giant sky fortress that just so happens to be hovering directly above Rabanastre.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy, the prequel Dissidia 012 begins Bartz's storyline in the Land of Discord after he's been captured. Once he escapes Zidane is captured, and Bartz has to head back to the Land of Discord to find him and fight his Final Boss. The Warriors of Cosmos also return to Order's Sanctuary near the end of the 13th cycle once they have their Crystals, the first time all the heroes have been gathered together since the start of the 12th cycle, when Cosmos imbued them with her power so they could manifest said Crystals.
      • The game's backstory reveals Chaos was created in the Cardian Islands laboratories at the behest of Onrac, his lair and the site of the final battle in the Land of Discord is on a floating island off the shore of Onrac, and the Cardian Islands link the Land of Discord to the mainland. The title of a Report, "Hill with View of the Water Temple" (the Water Shrine's approximate location underwater would be beneath Chaos's island) also implies that this is where Cid, Garland, Chaos and Cosmos arrived in World B and the cycles of war began.
      • And as a meta-example for the entire series, in the ending sequence the Warriors of Cosmos appear outside Cornelia in World A, and the Warrior of Light begins walking towards the castle, revealing the Dissidia games to be a prequel to the original Final Fantasy which started out the same way.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Serah's journey starts when a meteorite (actually a Time Gate) crashes just outside New Bodhum, her home since Cocoon's fall, and Noel appears. The pair end up in a ruined version of New Bodhum (in 700 -AF-), just before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. The game also ends in Valhalla, where the tutorial and prologue took place (on the same beach where Caius was shown laying Yeul to rest).
    • Final Fantasy XV continues the trend by ending in Insomnia, the protagonists' Doomed Hometown After the End. Unlike most examples however, it was not accessible as a playable area in the beginning of the game, only appearing in cutscenes, the tie-in movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, and a short demo that was released before the game.
    • Somewhat Zigzagged in Final Fantasy Tactics. The tutorial level starts at Orbonne Monestary, but this is revealed to be simply where Ramza ended up due to the events of the first chapter. The game's entire story does start properly as Chapter 2 begins where the tutorial level left off as Ramza had been explaining the events up to that point to his companions and the plot is kicked off. Later, at the end of Chapter 4, Ramza must return to Orbonne as it is the site of the portal that would lead to the very final levels.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Full Throttle begins with Ben and his gang riding motorcycles. During the ending sequence, Ben is stuck on a wrecked plane at the edge of a bridge, and needs to get off the plane before it falls, a feat that's impossible to do on foot. However, a conveniently placed bike sits Behind the Black.
  • The first Galaxy Angel game started and ended with the Angels launching from the White Moon and battling around it.
  • Geneforge 5 Overthrow has one if you join Ghaldring's faction. One of the final quests but not the last one is to kill Shaper Rawal, who just happens to have his base in Isenwood Spire. Even better is the fact that you can bypass most of his defenses by coming in through the Foundry Core.
  • Ghost Hunter begins with two cops talking about the abandoned high-school they're checking out. It ends with them in the same place, talking about how they're going to report what happened.
  • A when variation occurs in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Not returning to the start of the night at the junkyard, oh no, but to the event ten years prior that set everything into motion that culminated on the night in question.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the last few missions take place in the city where the first few did. The final mission ends on Grove Street.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, choosing the "Revenge" option takes you back to the ship you came in on.
  • Grim Fandango plays this trope for all it's worth. Near the end, Manny returns to the city where he began the game working as a travel agent, now a corrupted cesspool of sin and debauchery. He infiltrates the heart of the criminal conspiracy, where the Big Bad unwittingly offers Manny his old job. In his old office.
  • In Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman arrives at the Combine-ruled City 17, passing through a block of flats and a trainstation, before reaching a friend's lab and then heading off to the coast, where he is later teleported back to the lab, except that resistence uprising has resulted in riots. This is most striking when the player escapes from some ruined apartments, to discover he is in the same courtyard has passed through earlier, and then goes on to find the train station exterior, now covered with Combine devices and walls. It's not nearly the end of the game, though.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved is fond of this trope; about halfway through the game, you end up backtracking through the levels you've previous been through, until the very last level which takes place on the very starship you began the game on in the first level. The first chapter title of the final level is even "...And The Horse You Rode In On."
    • Likewise, in Halo 3, the final battle takes place in the Halo Control Room, identical to the Halo Control Room in Halo CE. You even face off against the same enemy.
    • In addition, the entire final level in 3 is on a recreation of the first Halo. Clever gamers will note that the final Warthog-run course is designed to be a near-exact silhouette of the island from popular Halo CE level "The Silent Cartographer".
    • Bungie's final game in the series, Halo: Reach, ends with the first scene of Halo: Combat Evolved. Even more so, Reach's last level and the Halo's first level are both called "The Pillar of Autumn. This trope was even said word for word as part of the tagline:
      "Remember where it all began. Remember Reach."
  • Hitman:
    • Hitman: Codename 47 opens with the titular character breaking out of the lab where he was created, and finishes in the same building, when he kills his creator.
    • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin begins with 47 working in a church in Sicily, and features the final showdown in the same church, after which he leaves.
    • Hitman: Contracts technically begins and ends in the same hotel room, but that's because he's been tripping the entire game on his near-deathbed.
  • In ICO, after Yorda is taken by the Queen, and you maneuver your way through the castle's underground waterway, you come upon the very dock that you were taken to in the game's opening scene. And it turns out the Queen's throne room was right next to the room you were first imprisoned in.
  • In inFAMOUS, the final boss battle is fought at the site of the explosion that began the game.
  • Averted in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Despite seeing Gol and Mia and Daxter undergoing his transformation on Misty Island, the Final Battle takes place at Gol and Mia's citadel far away from Jak and Daxter's village.
  • The finale of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast takes you back to the Jedi Temple on Yavin, where you retrained in the ways of the Force near the start of the game. This time around, however, the Temple is under siege by Desann and the Empire Reborn, and you get to go through all the areas you held back from earlier as you lead the defense and face off with Desann one last time.
  • Jet Set Willy ends with the scene depicted on the game's cover art; Willy's head down the toilet in "The Bathroom", the game's starting room. Jet Set Willy 2 has the same ending sequence, only on reaching the toilet Willy is transported to "Oh $#!+! The Central Cavern!", the first room of the previous game in the series, Manic Miner.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The final battle with Ansem in the first Kingdom Hearts begins on (what's left of) Destiny Islands, the first stage, before switching to the standard Amazing Technicolor Battlefield.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Ven's story ends at The Awakening. Not only is that where we first see Ven, but it's also a tutorial level that appeared at the beginning of near every game in the series. Later, the final battle between Aqua and the possessed Terra occurs at Radiant Garden, where Terra had his true Start of Darkness. Vanitas was created from Ven at the Keyblade Graveyard, bringing their battle full-circle as well.
    • Inverted in Kingdom Hearts II, where Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden, the penultimate stage of the first game, is the new hub world since Leon and Sora's other allies took it back between games. Played straight with Twilight Town, the world the game begins in and that Sora returns to at the end of the game to find the portal to The World That Never Was, the lair of the Organization.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days takes this to a logical extreme. The almost final area is Twilight Town, which is where Roxas gets his name from Xemnas, where he met Axel, where his first mission with Xion was, and where he, Axel, and Xion meet up to hang out. Not only is it the final area, but the clock tower is the setting for the final part of the fight with Xion, which also drags you to three other worlds you visited throughout the game. Then, you're taken to The World That Never Was, which is where your main hub has been for most of the game. You then reenact the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts, which means it loops all the way back to the ending of the first game.
    • In Kingdom Hearts coded, this occurs across games — the goal of the heroes is to find out the source and meaning of a mysterious message that's appeared in Jiminy's journal, and the final world ends up being Castle Oblivion, the very place Sora lost his memories and the journal was originally left blank back in Chain of Memories.
    • And once again occurring across games in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance — the final boss takes place in The Awakening once again, after which the environment shifts to Destiny Islands, and the player must answer questions mirroring the ones asked at The Awakening in the first game.
    • A series-wide example in Kingdom Hearts III. The final battle takes place in Scala ad Caelum, which is heavily implied to be the ruins of Daybreak Town, the hub world for Kingdom Hearts χ and implied to be the very first world in the realm of light.
  • The last stage of Kirby's Adventure is a black-and-white homage to its Game Boy predecessor, Kirby's Dream Land, with two rooms for each of that game's four stages.
  • In The Last Story, The Reptid's Cave in Chapter 1. You return to this location again in Chapter 39, but named as The Reptid's Cave Revisited. Chapter 40 is the final chapter in the main game.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 does this for the Hard Rain campaign where the finale takes place in the Burger Tank, which is where you started in the first map, except it is more wrecked and now flooded from the hurricane.
    • And The Passing as well; the whole objective of that campaign is to get to the other side of a bridge and lower it so you can drive the escape vehicle from the first campaign over it.
  • In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain receives his quest at the Pillars of Nosgoth, which is also where the final boss is fought. In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel begins the same fighting his way out of the Sarafan keep, and the game ends with him fighting his way back in.
  • The final dungeon in Legend of Legaia takes place in the Heroic Mute's least, where it USED to be before a giant monster consumed and assimilated it.
  • Examples in The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the Satellaview remake of the original game, the final fight with Ganon takes place in the first cave where you got the wooden sword.
    • Twice in A Link to the Past — first, you rescue Zelda from the Hyrule Castle dungeons, then return to the castle after obtaining the Master Sword to climb its central tower. In the Dark World, after completing the final dungeon the final boss crashes through the top of the Dark Pyramid you entered the world on to reveal a chamber inside where the final battle is held. Just to top it all off too, the Dark Pyramid and Hyrule Castle are in the same place between the two works. There are two other instances, as this game is the Trope Namer for Dark World — the first dungeon for each of the two worlds is in the same place, and the final dungeon of the Dark World is in the same place as the final dungeon of the Light World.
    • The eighth dungeon in Oracle of Ages is in the same location as the first dungeon, merely in the past rather than the present. It's not as simple as just warping to the past once you've got the Song of Ages, however.
    • Ocarina of Time, Link begins the second part of the game in the ruins of Hyrule Castle Town, and later returns to the town to infiltrate Ganon's Castle floating where Hyrule Castle once stood.
    • In Majora's Mask the player starts off in Clock Town and has to wait until the end of the 3rd Day to climb up the clock tower and get their ocarina back from the Skull Kid to begin the game proper. Once the dungeons are complete you have to do the same and this time use the song you've learned to call the dungeon guardians to your aid.
    • For Twilight Princess, the game proper begins in Hyrule Castle's dungeons where you meet Midna, and the final dungeon takes you through the rest of the castle.
    • In The Minish Cap, the final dungeon is once again Hyrule Castle.
    • In Spirit Tracks, it is noted that the entrance to the Dark World is located not far at all from Link's hometown.
    • In A Link Between Worlds, the two of the first rooms of Lorule Castle you see are the final rooms of the game. You can even use the first portal located between the two princess's studies to use Princess Zelda's study as a makeshift Fairy Fountain before the final battle.
    • In Skyward Sword, the entrance to the final dungeon is about ten steps away from the cave where Link rescues his bird at the beginning of the game. And then the final battle takes place in the same place Link first descended to the surface.
    • The Shrine of Resurrection where Link wakes up in the beginning of Breath of the Wild is revealed in the Champions' Ballad DLC to be the entrance to the final bonus dungeon.
    • Hyrule Warriors: After your journey across boundaries of time and space, you end up back in Hyrule Field to take on Ganon.
  • The final boss battle of Little Town Hero goes all around the town, but the final phase is set in the neighborhood where protagonist Axe lives.
  • The Longest Journey directly invokes this trope in the opening narration. "This story, like all good stories, begins where it ends: in a tower, in a realm that is no more..."
  • Loom has the big showdown on the very island you grew up on and left at the start of the game. It also takes place in the cathedral where the events setting off the plot took place, and the draft that caused it (still echoing in the Loom) is used to save the day.
  • Mario & Luigi:
    • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, even though it's not really the last battle, you fight the Big Bad in the meeting room of Peach's Castle, where Mario first battled Bowser at the beginning of the game. Adding to this, you play as Bowser in the same position but with a different perspective.
    • And in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, after defeating the elder Princess Shroob and returning to Peach's castle yet again, her essence revives Bowser and you have to battle him one last time in the throne room, where baby Mario fought Baby Bowser before the Shroobs first appeared at the beginning.
    • Both games use Princess Peach's Castle, the starting point of the adventure as the final dungeon albeit with some modifications made by the Big Bad.
  • Mega Man
    • In Mega Man X2, the last level is the same as Magna Centipede's stage, even with all the secrets, but stops in the middle. If you select Magna Centipede instead, you still stop for the final battle.
    • The final battle in Mega Man Zero 3 takes place in the ruins of the underground laboratory where Ciel found Zero resting in Mega Man Zero 1.
    • The final battle in Mega Man ZX takes place in the Slither Inc. building, the very same building outside of which Vent/Aile fought a brainwashed Giro, watched him die from his injuries inflicted by them and Serpent, and where the first transformation into Mega Man Model ZX occurred.
    • The final battle in Mega Man ZX Advent takes place in the collection Model W fusion of Ouroboros, which heavily resembles the space station Ragnarok, the final stage of Zero 4 and the original structure whose wreckage the Model Ws were created from.
    • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has the fight with Pharaoh Man, which starts out in the very first room of his stage.
  • The penultimate act of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is set in the ruins of the Shadow Moses Island Nuclear Disposal Facility, where the entirety of the original Metal Gear Solid took place.
  • Metroid:
    • The original Metroid requires you to return to the first vertical shaft near the beginning in order to access Tourian. In a more literal sense, the final hallway with Mother Brain is just 2 screens above the start area. Also, if you beat Ridley before Kraid, you'll again be going through the area from the very beginning of the game to fight Kraid before heading up to Tourian. Less so in the remake, as there's more game to go after Tourian.
    • Super Metroid gets partial credit for the fact that the pathway to the final area is fairly close to your ship and the first places you visit on Zebes (Ceres Station, the very first area of the game, is destroyed) and there's even a secret path near your ship that's effectively a second pathway to the final area, meaning you're very likely to be passing by your ship (possibly grabbing a save and fill-up while there) when doing a 100% items run (depending on your route).
    • Metroid Fusion begins and ends in the shuttle landing dock of BSL.
    • Metroid Prime has the final area be accessed from the first area of Tallon IV you land on. Quite close to your ship, too.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the final boss battle take place in the Dark World version of the area you first learn of the game's true objectives in.
    • Metroid: Other M follows this, but only in the Playable Epilogue — the Bonus Boss is in the very first area of the game, in a part you've been unable to access until now. The path eventually loops round to the other side of the control room where the first boss was, before the inevitable escape sequence back to your ship.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus ended with Samus taking the baby Metroid back to her ship. In the remake, Ridley appears out of nowhere right in front of Samus's ship for the final boss battle, playing the trope much straighter.
  • Midnight Club II: the last two races in Career mode take place in the first city. In a further example, the final race's finish line is the gas station where the entire game began.
  • Might and Magic:
    • VI: The Hive, the heart of the Kreegan infestation of Enroth during and before the game and one of the landing points during the Night of Shooting Stars is located in the region of Sweet Water...which is also your characters' home village, from which they fled during the intro of the game, saved from death by a benign mage. (Of course, this only counts if the cinematic opening sequence at the start of the game is considered the beginning.)
    • VIII: The sandbox opens up when you get to the city of Ravenshore, which is also where the entrance to the final area is (a good chunk of the game is creating a key to get in). You do have to return to the starting area for one of the last quests in the game, though due to the nature of that arc how close to the end it is is up to the playernote .
  • In the endgame of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, you can emerge from a door on Melee Island, last seen locked in the original game.
  • Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin begins on Hakolo Island, where the player character lives. Hakolo Island is also where Oltura, an Eldritch Abomination and a monster with the power to destroy the world, is fought as the game's final battle. The battle site is also just a bit further up the path from where the player character fights a Rage-Rayed Anjanath, the game's first major boss battle.
  • Most of the Myst games do this for individual ages; the last puzzle to solve is usually in the first thing you saw when you came in.
    • In Riven, the player's final action in the game is to activate a device that is right near the starting location. Especially effective because the device in question has been accessible since the beginning, but the player doesn't understand what it's for until after the story is nearly over; successfully beating the game relies on opening what doesn't look like a safe with what doesn't originally seem to be a combination lock, that has been sitting right in front of you from the moment you arrived.
    • Also, the last area unlocked in Uru is Myst Island. Note, however, that Uru was intended to be — essentially — a Myst MMORPG, so it's not really the end of the Uru storyline. It's kinda complicated...
    • Subverted, however, in Myst V: End of Ages. Even though you have the option to, you don't WANT to return to Myst Island. Trust me on this one.
  • In NieR, the gateway to the Shadowlord's castle lies just past the altar where Grimoire Weiss and Nier first met. When Emil comments on this, Weiss agrees that it feels strangely nostalgic.
  • In No More Heroes, if you upgrade Travis's sword to its fullest, you end up fighting the True Final Boss, Henry, in the parking lot right outside Travis' own home where he'd be after every Ranked Fight.
  • ObsCure II does this twice. The fight against the Disc-One Final Boss takes place at the abandoned ruins of the High School where the first game was set, and where Herbert Friedman conducted his experiments on the mortifilia plant that led to the events of the series. Then comes The Stinger after the end credits, and The Reveal of the Greater-Scope Villain who financed Friedman's experiments. What comes next is a No-Gear Level set in their headquarters where you learn about all of their machinations and their role in the story, just before the real Final Boss.
  • In Octopath Traveler, the entrance to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is located at the ruins of Hornburg, Olberic's Doomed Hometown.
  • Omori begins in White Space, the place Omori calls home. Sunny and Omori's Battle in the Center of the Mind, to determine whether Sunny either faces the future or takes his own life occurs in the exact same spot.
  • Subverted in Oracle of Tao. Where It All Began is some generic large town, that practically nothing happens (ever), much less an epic battle. However, in the Playable Epilogue it does return to an origin place, the Universe Egg where the world was created at the end of the first game.
  • Paper Mario 64's first battle is against Bowser at Peach's castle. Upon making it back, Bowser is fought in the same room where the first battle was. As if that wasn't enough, the post-game scenes almost directly mirror the opening sequence, including why Mario is going to Peach's castle.
  • A fan sequel to Penumbra, known as Necrologue, has a level that bounces between all three games in one place, starting with the second level of Requiem, leading into a fan-made set of rooms that bridges between the end of Overture and the start of Black Plague. Clarence and Philip lampshade all of this, saying that they've gone in a complete circle. You even get to relive how Overture ended if you go far enough.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 2: Innocent Sin begins at Seven Sisters High School. While the final dungeon - a massive, shrine-like spaceship called Xibalba - isn't there per se, the Narurato Stone, a small monolith that sits behind it, serves as the entrance to said dungeon.
    • The entrance to the final dungeon of the normal ending of Persona 4 is in one of the first places you see in the TV world. The final dungeon of the true ending is the same place that the protagonist dreamt of at the beginning of the game and where the first fight took place.
    • Persona 5 has a variation: the last dungeon of the game is the lowermost depths of Mementos, the same underground maze that you have access to right after the first major Palace is destroyed. The variation comes in that Mementos is completely optional, as its main purposes are serving as a hub for all of the game's sidequests and for extra grinding. However, it is not recommended that Mementos be skipped, because if you did not delve into it throughout the game, you will have to do so during the Endgame, and once December 24th comes and you go in, you cannot come back out.
    • Furthermore, the stairway and entrance to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is in a hellscape version of Shibuya Station Square, where the protagonist first gets off his train in Tokyo, and one of the first areas the player character is given the ability to move around before entering any dungeon.
  • In Phantasy Star IV, the gate to the final dungeon is on the same planet you started on, not too far away from the town you started in.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: After lots of time-travelling shenanigans in the previous worlds, the final world, Modern Day, takes place just before the start of the game when Crazy Dave was about to eat his Taco.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow comes close — nothing much happens in Pallet Town after the beginning of the game, but Viridian City, the first stop immediately thereafter, turns out to be the home of the last Gym Leader, who also happens to be Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket. The dwelling place of Mewtwo, the Bonus Dungeon, is behind Cerulean City, the town of the second Gym.
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver/Crystal: The path to Indigo Plateau from Johto? Surf east from New Bark Town. GSC also lets you go to Kanto after beating the Elite Four, where you can collect the badges there and gain access to Mt. Silver; waiting at the end is Red, the original protagonist and the strongest opponent in the game.
    • And in the anime, Ash tends to end up back in Pallet Town between tournaments. Gotta visit Mom after all.
    • After beating the Elite Four and the Champion in most games, next time you load your save you'll be in your bedroom, where you also started the game, except for RSE as you started those games in the back of a moving van.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, your first battle with May/Brendan takes place at Route 103. In the remakes, after you become champion, you meet said rival at Route 103 for one more battle.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Pokémon XD is located right off the coast of Gateon Port, the First Town.
    • Indigo Plateau and Victory Road (the place you battle the Elite Four and champion and hence Final Boss) of the original games is just a bit left from Viridian City and hence right near the start of the game. Pokemon and XY also do this, with Victory Road being just off the first Gym town, and you can even access the entrance to it before getting a single badge!
    • In Pokémon Colosseum, Wes meets the True Final Boss of the game at the Outskirt Stand, the first location he went to at the beginning after destroying the Team Snagem base.
    • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, a significant chunk of the postgame is actually where the previous games started (the first two gyms and the Skyarrow Bridge, which were earlygame in Black and White but are locked off until the postgame in BW2), and you can even speak to the prequel player character's mother.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, you receive your Z-Ring as a stone from Tapu Koko just outside the Ruins of Conflict, which is also where you meet Lillie and Nebby. After capturing Nebby yourself and becoming the Champion, Lillie takes you back to the Ruins, where you finally face off against Tapu Koko and prove that it was right to choose you. Tapu Koko itself even says "IT IS TIME" before the fight, which is extremely noticeable because Pokemon speaking human language is very very rare.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, you first enter the Slumbering Weald in the beginning of the game. Once encountered, you will face a ??? Pokemon, which becomes a Hopeless Boss Fight. The gates are locked and you cannot enter until nearly the end of the game.
      • Also just south of Postwick, where Pokémon Sword and Shield begins, is the Crown Tundra, home to a large number of Legendary Pokémon and Ultra Beasts and is the game's last area to visit assuming you have the DLC. The Crown Shrine is the point in the Crown Tundra closest to Postwick according to the in-game map, which is also where you fight Calyrex at his full power, the games' strongest Bonus Boss.
  • Portal briefly takes you back to the ninth test chamber (which is now a piece of cake, due to being able to fire two portals) before the final boss.
  • Project X Zone starts off at the Koryuujii estate. The party goes back there twice, and the second time, it is revealed that the base of the enemy is underneath the fountain.
  • Psychonauts sort of does it. The very first true level of the game takes place in the mind of Coach Oleander. The very last level of the game, after beating the Brain Tank, takes place in a nightmarish hybrid of Coach Oleander and Razputin's minds. It could be argued that this is actually a double-dose of the trope, since Raz also revisits the environment that he grew up in and escaped from immediately before the game started.
  • The jail cell in Purple's intro is actually located within The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. In fact, it's just steps away from final boss' chamber.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army must be accessed from the same bridge where your fist case began.
  • Randal's Monday: The finale takes place in the same place the story started on: Clayton's Cave.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • The final battle with Chairman Drek in Ratchet & Clank (2002) takes place on the first stage, Ratchet's home planet of Veldin.
    • The final battle with Emperor Tachyon in Tools of Destruction takes place on Planet Fastoon, which isn't the first stage, but Fastoon was where Tachyon destroyed the Lombaxes, marking the first conquest of his empire.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, the titular Ravensword happens to be hidden in a tomb underneath the town's plaza, which is the first location you enter after the introductory sequence.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil: Revelations is an unusual example given that it has a somewhat non-linear storytelling. However, Episode 1-1 shows that the plot for the game essentially starts on the shore overlooking the ruins of Terragrigia. It is here that Jill and Parker find the sample of the T-Abyss virus and they are told that Chris and Jessica have disappeared, prompting the rest of the game where they go to the Queen Zenobia to search for them. At the end of the game, O'Brian reveals that the third and final ship, the Queen Dido, is where they'll find what they need in order to end everything. Where is the Queen Dido? Underwater at the ruins of Terragrigia, where the plot started.
    • The final segments of Resident Evil 7 take place in the guest house where Ethan first found Mia to locate and destroy Eveline.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a Spoiler Title by that sense.
  • In the first two Rhythm Heaven games, the final remix ends with a Karate Man section. Karate Man was the very first mini-game in the first installment. (Which was only available in Japan)
  • In Robopon, Cody has to return directly to Baba Village at the end of the second game in order to confront the Zeros.
  • Only if you play as Albert in Romancing SaGa the first dungeon in his scenario is the gate to the final dungeon. Turns out the monsters are stronger also when you enter the very first cave again due to the game's Event Rank system.
  • In Secret of Evermore, the game begins in Omnitopia before you get shuttled down to Evermore's surface. The rest of the game is largely spent trying to figure out how to go back home, which the protagonist believes can be done by returning to Omnitopia. And for the final areas of the game, he does.
  • Having kicked off with a tutorial mission sent in a psychic dream of the Tokyo subways, The Secret World brings players back to Filth-infested Tokyo in Issues #9 through to #11 =- and though it's not the end of the game per se, it's meant to be the end of the first act. For good measure, the mission starts out in the Tokyo subways, and begins with the players meeting Sarah =- the character they were "playing" as in the dream.
  • Shining the Holy Ark sees the player heading into a dangerous mine at the start of the game to capture a criminal. Only it seems that the mine Dug Too Deep and evil spirits have been released. So you're forced to go on a quest so you're powerful enough to go back into the mine to seal away the Big Bad for good.
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run, the final level is the same part of town as the first level, only with zombies and other assorted chaos occurring.
  • The climax and ending of Skies of Arcadia is set in Mid-Ocean, the territory and home region of Vyse and his father's legion of Blue Rogue pirates and the starting point of the game. The finality is threefold: the climactic last stand against Galcian's world-dominating faction that splintered from Valua takes place in Mid-Ocean, the lost continent of Soltis turns out to be sitting below the ominous Vortex that lingers in Mid-Ocean's lower sky and is bought back, and it is revealed that Shrine Island, the game's first true dungeon, used to be a part of Soltis and serves as its entrance.
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves: The final battle ends in Paris, the area where the first game begins Sly's quest to avenge his father and his family's name. Paris is also the first level of the second game as well. It comes full circle in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, where the final level (also the tutorial level) takes place in Paris.
  • The second to last story stage of TimeSplitters: Future Perfect involves returning literally to the same location and time as your visit to the first story level of the game, so you can assist your past self.
  • StarCraft:
    • StarCraft I, the first and final missions of the Protoss campaign take place on Aiur.
    • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, the first and last mission chains both take place on Aiur. For bonus points, the penultimate mission takes place in the same location as the last Protoss mission of the first game.
  • After the tutorial fights aboard General Scales' airship, Star Fox Adventures opens in the sprawling, epic Krazoa Palace. Guess which place serves as the final dungeon?
  • In StarTropics II: Zoda's Revenge, the very last chapter of the game takes place on C-island, the first island of the original StarTropics. And the game's ultimate dungeon? A remix of the first game's first stage, complete with music.
  • Suikoden starts in what will become the final dungeon. Most of the endings of the second game involve the main character returning to Where It All Began for a final confrontation with his Necessarily Evil best friend.
  • In Super Mario RPG the first dungeon in the game is Bowser's castle. However, after you defeat Bowser, the true villains of the game appear and take over the place. You return to the castle near the end of the game, as you must defeat a boss there in order to teleport to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • In Super Robot Wars Destiny, The final battlefield is located in the South Pole; where you first get control of the Original Characters.
  • System Shock 2 does this in a bit of a roundabout way. While in the original, Citadel Station was destroyed, the very last section of the sequel dumps you into a still-forming recreation of Citadel's medical level, big blue tiles and all — said medical level being the place where the Hacker first woke up in the original. It's still-forming because SHODAN is rebuilding it out of her own memory.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, once the game's basic tutorial is over, Luke is teleported away from his manor to Tataroo Valley, where the game proper begins. At the end of the game, when you get to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, said final dungeon happens to be hovering right over Tataroo Valley.
  • Near the beginning of Terranigma, you are sent through a portal from your hometown at the inside of Earth to outside. Near the end, this same portal is opened again and you visit your hometown. However because of the changes you've made on the surface, it has subtle changes and right when you talk to anyone, they turn into spirits and attack you.
  • The Thing (2002): Blake fights the Final Boss Thing at the excavated site of the UFO crash where it arrived on Earth.
  • In TimeShift, the first level has the player being dropped into a dystopian alternate timeline where the Occupant resistance is being mercilessly crushed by the fascist Krone Magistrate, and the level ends in a Hopeless Boss Fight against Big Bad Krone's Humongous Mecha. The game's last level takes place in the exact same neighbor and at the exact same time as the first level, except you've altered history so that the resistance is winning (i.e. in the original timeline a helicopter would mow down several resistance members on a rooftop, whereas in the altered timeline the resistance members have rocket launchers to shoot the copter down with). When you reach the final battle you end up in a better firing position than you were in the original timeline, such that you actually have a shot a the Humongous Mecha's weak spot, as well as a weapon capable of harming it.
  • Lara Croft tends to end up doing this in the Tomb Raider games, generally after spending most of the game searching for a MacGuffin needed to activate something in the first location she visited.
  • After traveling all over the US and touring to Canada and Moscow, Tony Hawks Under Ground ends with a skate showdown with Eric Sparrow across old neighborhood in New Jersey.
  • Undertale: In the Pacifist ending, after the final boss fight with Asriel, Frisk wakes up in the ruins, where the game begins. In the playable epilogue you can find Asriel in the flower bed from the very beginning of the game. In the Neutral and Pacifist endings Frisk ends up in the surface world where they come from, in the former the objective of the game is to go home in the latter the monsters get to go home with you.
  • Wario Land 3: the final music box is conveniently located at the first level, Out of the Woods. Then you can visit the Final Boss at the Temple, as in the first place you ever visit.
  • The Witness: The Golden Ending is accessed by solving an environmental puzzle using the gate from the starting area. Of course, one of the first things the player does is turn the gate off, making solving it impossible; to turn it on again, they have to activate all of the lasers and complete most of the puzzles in the End to access the Caverns and find the gate's reactivation pattern. This journey clues the player in on the existence of environmental puzzles, which they'll need to find the ending, and, through audio logs, gives them backstory context they'll need to appreciate it.note 
  • World's End Club: Upon reaching the area where MAIK is presumably, the Go-Getters find out MAIK is not there. Using a variety of clues picked during the journey, Pochi along with assistance from the player, managed to discover MAIK is located beneath the underwater park in Kagoshima, where the Go-Getters began their trip.
  • In World of Warcraft Garrosh and Thrall agree to have their final battle to the death at the place where the two met and bonded over Thrall's memories of Grom.
    • The first battle in Warlords of Draenor takes place at the Dark Portal, which is also where the final battle against Archimonde takes place.
    • Another minor example in WoW occurs during the Siege of Orgrimmar, the final raid of Mists of Pandaria, with portions of it occurring in Ragefire Chasm, the Horde's first dungeon.
    • Specific to the story of the Draenei, the story of their struggle with the Legion begins and ends on Argus.
  • At the end of Yakuza: Like a Dragon after Governor Aoki is not only beaten in a fight but publicly outed for corruption he ends up escaping and making his way to the coin lockers where he was found as an infant. Ichiban, who not only knows Aoki very well but was also a fellow "coin locker baby" easily tracks him down and takes this as Aoki wanting a fresh start deep down.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In Malê Rising, Paulo Abacar the ex-slave lived in a house at Oyo Square, Sokoto. 177 years later, his great-great-great-granddaughter Laila Abacar visits the house - now a museum and shrine - in the epilogue. She considers moving her family there at the end.
  • Sonic for Hire: In the Season 7 finale, Sonic realizes the answer to The Creator's final clue is by heading to the intro screen to input the password to select The Creator's location.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Season 1's finale occurs at the same location as Act 1 in the burned out ruin of the cannery factory where Powder accidentally killed most of her adoptive family, Vi's seeming abandonment of her, and the birth of the Jinx persona. There Jinx offers Vi the return of her old personality Powder in return for her killing Caitlyn. There Jinx shoots Silco in the heat of the moment to protect Vi, killing him at the same location where he adopted her. And its there that Jinx realizes that she and Vi cannot go back to their past relationship and chooses to blow up the Piltover Council with a weapon powered by Hextech crystal, the same item that she accidentally killed her family with.
  • The Beatles episode "Paperback Writer" has the head of publishing firm Dot, Clot and Blot telling each of the boys to submit a book telling how the group came together. The boys' individual takes are rather far-fetched (Ringo a Shakespearean actor, Paul a scientist, George a secret agent, John a World War I pilot, and each scenario with the others in supporting roles). They're so outlandish that the publisher kicks them out of his office.
    John: Say, how did we meet, anyway?
    Ringo: Same as now. We just sorta bumped into each other!
  • "Awakening," the first episode of Gargoyles, begins with the Wyvern Clan waking up from their stone sleep in Castle Wyvern. "Hunter's Moon," the final episode, ends with the Manhattan Clan going into stone sleep in Castle Wyvern.
  • The Hollow: The game ends at the same place it started: the bunker. Except that everyone now has their memories, knows more-or-less what's going on, and there's a big green button in the middle of the room that allows them to win the game.
  • The I ♥ Arlo Season 1 finale "The Uncondemning" has Arlo and his gang travel back to the Louisiana swamp where Edmée raised him for fifteen years before leaving for New York, where they find it under a dark curse by the evil Bog Lady who has Edmée held up as bait to lure Arlo to her and convince him to stay forever.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Return of Harmony Part 1", Discord tells the main characters that they can find the Elements of Harmony back where they began. In the next episode, Twilight Sparkle finds the elements in the book that she is reading at the beginning of the pilot episode.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mr. Mojo's Rising" is in effect a "where it all began" episode. The movie is essentially an inflated extension of the episode.
  • The conflict in Samurai Jack begins when Jack, in feudal Japan, fights Aku in his lair, only for Aku to open a time portal and fling Jack into the far future. After spending almost the entire series in the future, Jack is finally able to return to feudal Japan and finish Aku off once and for all in that very same place, and quite fittingly, shows up immediately after Aku had sent Jack into the future.
  • Basically, this is how Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated concludes. When the Nibiru curse is destroyed, it reset everything in Crystal Cove as if the curse had never existed, and the gang — once shunned by the townspeople — are now considered productive members of the community. But the reset means there are no mysteries to solve and Fred's van is a plain, white van. After getting a recorded message from Harlan Ellison, who had jumped the same timeline as the gang had, they dress up the van as their now-iconic "Mystery Machine" and set out on a road trip to solve whatever mysteries come their way.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: After Catra sets off the portal at the end of season 3, all of reality starts collapsing. Adora is told she has to go back "Where it began" in order to save reality. But she's already been to the Fright Zone (where the portal was set off and where she spent her childhood), the Whispering Woods (where she found the sword and became She-Ra for the first time), and Brightmoon (where she formally joined the the Rebellion and accepted the mantle of She-Ra). Since every "beginning" is already covered, she's at a loss for where she's supposed to go. She needs to go to where her life on Etheria started, back where Hordak's first portal brought her when she was a baby, a location only seen in flashbacks which otherwise has no significant role in the story.
  • Transformers:
    • In the original The Transformers cartoon, the story began on the nearly drained Cybertron in "More Than Meet The Eye: Part 1". The final episodes take place on a recharged Cybertron in "The Rebirth: Part 3".
    • The first season of Transformers Animated ends where the adventure began: in the cargo hold of Optimus Prime's ship, with Prime and Megatron fighting for the AllSpark. Megatron even points this out.
      • The two battle on board the same ship yet again near the end of the third season premiere, though that's a looser fit for this trope.
  • The movie Turtles Forever essentially does this for the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise; the third act is set in "Turtle Prime", the world of the original Turtles comic books.
  • The third season of the Winx Club uses this. When Valtor challenges them for the final battle, he deliberately chooses the very world he first invaded after breaking out of prison: the Omega Dimension.

    Real Life 
  • Salmon: These fish are born in high mountain streams, at times hundreds of miles inland, past rocks and rapids atop the bodies of their dead parents. They travel downstream as they grow in size, some but not many (relatively speaking) dodging gauntlets of predators on their journey to the sea. The survivors, the most fit whether by disease resistance, speed, strength or luck, are the only ones to reach the ocean, where they are further culled by merciless mother nature. It is here they continue their growth and development for a few years, honing their skills and growing in strength for what lies ahead. At some point, they are called to the place where it all began, to spawn and join their ancestors in the hallowed halls of salmon valhalla. So they return, the only way they can, the hard way, swimming and leaping up the rapids and short waterfalls the entire route. Overwhelming their predators, man, bears and manbearpigs with sheer numbers, rock solid determination and belly filling deliciousness, eventually enough of them make it back and engage in an orgy of death and babymaking before they shed their mortal shells and ascend into the heavens.
  • Eels: Their life history is in many ways a mirror image of salmon. Instead of being born in high mountain streams, they are born in the open sea. They drift with the ocean currents, growing in size and eventually swimming on their own while dodging their own gauntlets of predators on their journey to fresh water. The survivors swim up rivers and streams, where they continue to grow for as long as 15 years while avoiding a new set of predators. Then, they go downstream, even crossing wet grasslands, until they reach the ocean. Eels then cross hundreds or even thousands of miles of ocean, overwhelming their predators in much the same way that salmon do, with enough of them making it back to the breeding grounds before entering eel valhalla.
  • Sea turtles: They somehow always remember where their home beach is and always return there to lay eggs whenever need be.
  • Humanity: The oldest modern human skeleton was found at Awash River.
  • Evolution has done this many, many times, most commonly when a species whose ancestors left the oceans and adapted to land then returns to a marine habitat.
  • Deliberately invoked by Adolf Hitler in World War II. During World War I, the Germans signed a surrender with the French in a railway dining car; this was followed by the Treaty of Versailles which helped lead to the Great Depression and hard times for Germany. After the German Army defeated the French in the second World War, he went out of his way to move the dining car (by then in a museum) to the original spot that the surrender had been signed in to drive home the severity of their defeat. The car was destroyed by an SS unit before V-E Day to prevent this coming back to bite him.
  • A pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed and also the site of his first revelation of the Quran and thus the de facto birthplace of Islam, is de rigeur for Muslims.
  • Ichiro Suzuki was the first Japanese fielder to make it big in Major League Baseball, signing with the Seattle Mariners in 2001 following nine seasons with NPB's Orix BlueWave. After twelve seasons with the Mariners he was traded to the New York Yankees, with whom he played for two and a half seasons before signing with the Miami Marlins for three more. He re-signed with the Mariners in 2018, and finally announced his retirement from professional baseball after a two-game series between the Mariners and Oakland A's on March 21, Tokyo, where the teams were playing those games.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Where It All Started


The Campsite

After spending most of the episode trying to get to the Campsite; Elliot and his friends manage to reach it after sundown... right in the middle of Elliots' own backyard.

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Main / WhereItAllBegan

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Main / WhereItAllBegan