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You Cant Go Home Again / Video Games

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  • In the Ace Attorney series, Misty Fey was forced into hiding after she was publicly disgraced after the DL-6 Incident. Even after her name was cleared, in the first game, she isn't able to return to her old life.
  • In Baldur's Gate, Gorion's influence was pretty much the only reason Ulraunt tolerated your presence in Candlekeep. When he dies, the fortress becomes as off limits to you as it is to the rest of the world. The sequel touches on this a few times as well: as time passes, you become a big fish in a very small pond — even if they did let you go back home, could you ever be content there?
    • You can (and in fact have to) go back to Candlekeep some time after Gorion's death while following the conspiracy you have been embroiled in all this time, only to discover that nearly everyone you knew there was killed and replaced by doppelgangers.
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  • As we find out in Close Your Eyes, this is emphasized in the "Husk" and "Recollection" endings, where the world is a nuclear wasteland, thus escaping the V.I.E.W facility means escaping to nothing.
  • Creeper World: Played with in Creeper World 4. Danu spends most of the campaign trying to return to Mars, only to discover she had never left. The rift lab had been transporting her through time instead of space, so while she was "home", she could never return to her own era.
  • Dead or Alive: After leaving her village to take revenge on Raidou for crippling Hayate when no one else would, this seems to be Kasumi's fate thus far, in addition to being marked for death by the Mugen Tenshin Clan. However, the endings of Dimensions and DOA5, the two most recent games in the franchise, have called this into question.
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  • This is the title of one of the achievements in the game Dino D-Day awarded when an Axis(Nazi) player kills the two "defectors" Jakob Franknote  and Trigger the Protoceratopsnote .
  • In Distorted Travesty, after the heroes get warped into an amalgamate video game world, their first priority is finding a way to get back home. After a few levels, it's revealed that while they can technically go home, their home has been warped into the same world. The "real" world is forever beyond their reach.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the trope is both played straight and averted for the six origins. Five of the six are not only able to return home, but have to return there in the course of playing the game. The Mage returns to the Circle of Magi during the "Broken Circle" quest; the City Elf helps drive slavers out of the Alienage where they grew up; the Dalish Elf returns to the Brecilian Forest to recruit members of another elven clan to help fight the darkspawn; and the Dwarf Noble and Dwarf Commoner both go back to Orzammar to settle the question of who becomes king. The trope is played painfully straight, however, for the Human Noble, whose ancestral home — Castle Cousland — is never seen again after the origin is completed, which is probably for the best since it's littered with the corpses of everyone else who lived there.
    • Sten also has this issue, as he cannot return home to give his report because his sword was lost. As he explains it, the sword was forged for his hands, and he "was to die wielding it." If he returned home without it, he would be slain on-sight by the Qunari border guards as it would mean he was 'without his soul'.
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    • Zevran has quit his role as an Antivan Crow, and thus if he ever goes anywhere near Antiva again they'll probably have him assassinated.
    • Leliana is in Ferelden after a botched mission left her with treason charges in Orlais.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Hawke's Doomed Hometown of Lothering is destroyed by the Darkspawn horde at the beginning of the game. It's eventually rebuilt at some point over the next seven years, but by that time Hawke is pretty enmeshed in Kirkwall's problems and has begun to set in roots. However, Hawke's mother comments that Hawke and his/her siblings "are Fereldan to your toes," and dialogue in one minor quest can have Hawke state that despite their role as Champion of Kirkwall, s/he will always consider Ferelden to be their home.
    • Invoked by Aveline when discussing her own reticence to return to post-Blight Ferelden in Act One, much like Hawke's family.
      Aveline: You can't go home again. That's supposed to be about maturity. It's not the same if you don't have the option.
    • Fenris doesn't want to go home after all the Magisters of Tevinter did to him. Merrill's character arc begins with her leaving her clan to live in the Kirkwall alienage — and the least bloody ending still leaves her exiled forever.
    • The shipwrecked qunari platoon spend roughly four years "waiting for a second ship", when in reality they're stuck in Kirkwall until their Arishok recovers their sacred text and the one who stole it. As Kirkwall is almost the perfect opposite of ordered qunari society, this really gets to the Arishok.
  • Dragon Quest III: In the end, when the dust has settled, Zoma has been slain and both Alefgard and Erdrick's home world have been saved... but, subsequently, the hole in the sky that bridged the two has closed. They're left in Alefgard, heralded a savior, for the rest of their days.
  • Dragon's Wake: The Player Character is a young dragon that was adopted by a village of lizardfolk. When the player returns from destroying a village of goblins, they find that the lizardfolk village has also been destroyed by a Black Knight.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Maormer (Sea Elves) were banished from Aldmeris, the ancient homeland of the Precursors of the races of Mer (Elves), after attempting a rebellion. There is said to be a literal veil of mist that they cannot penetrate surrounding their former home.
    • The mythology of the ES universe is suggested to include a cycle of death and rebirth. However, souls which are claimed by a specific deity (such as a Daedric Prince), are removed from this cycle and are taken to the realm of the deity in question to serve for eternity. Some mortals voluntarily serve deities and pledge their souls in this fashion, so it may not be too bad for them. (Such as werewolves who enjoy this state of being and will gladly serve in Hircine's Hunting Grounds.) Some souls may end up this way involuntarily, such as those who die under the effects of a Soul Trap spell. They are doomed to enter the Soul Cairn, created and ruled by the Ideal Masters (formerly mortal sorcerers who entered Oblivion as Energy Beings and traffic in souls).
  • This seems to be a common theme in Fallout:
    • The original Fallout1 ends with the Vault Dweller being banished from his Vault, due to having been radically changed by his experiences in the wastes and possible hero worship amongst the Vault's younger dwellers causing them to leave en masse. They left anyway.
    • Averted in Fallout 2: Saving the tribe means The Chosen One gets to STAY with the tribe, wherever they're forced to go.
    • At the beginning of Fallout 3, the Lone Wanderer is living with their father, James, in the underground shelter Vault 101. However, when James leaves the Vault, the paranoid Vault Overseer tries to have the Wanderer killed, forcing them to flee into the Wasteland to find their father. Later, the Wanderer returns to the Vault to find that its inhabitants are embroiled in a civil war over whether or not to keep the Vault locked down. If the Wanderer finds a peaceful solution, their childhood friend Amata becomes the new Overseer. However, as she explains, a lot of people still blame them for everything that went wrong. For the sake of peace in the Vault, the Wanderer is forced to leave again, this time for good. And of course, if the Wanderer kills innocents or outright sabotages the life support systems, everyone in the Vault yells at you to leave.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas: Lonesome Road, the Courier finds out that they destroyed their implied hometown by delivering a mysterious package from Navarro that detonated the Divide's nuclear missiles.
    • Fallout 4: After 210 years in experimental cryo, your house is still standing, and even a few of your family members survived. But the house isn't the same after centuries of aging, and you lose your family (sans butler) in the end.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII have Cloud and Tifa where they can't go back to their hometown because it was burned to the ground by Sephiroth. Although the town is rebuilt by Shinra and stocked with actors to cover up the event later in the game, the implication is still the same.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, this happens to a lot of the characters due to the massive property damage over the course of the game, but special mention to the Terrans (including Zidane), whose home planet gets blown up, and the summoners Eiko and Garnet, whose village was nuked in the backstory.
    • Final Fantasy X: Tidus spends most of the game looking forward to returning to Zanarkand, which he discovers is pretty impossible seeing that it's been in ruins for the past thousand years and wasn't even really his Zanarkand anyway because he had been living in a literal dreamworld.
    • Fran in Final Fantasy XII chooses to abandon her home in the woods in order to live freely and she runs away with Balthier, who is a Sky Pirate. Because Fran left her village, she effectively abandoned her duty as a guardian of the wood and is unable to communicate with it. Fran's abandonment effectively has her ousted and is not allowed to returning home. Fran does eventually return to her village for the sake of assisting her party, though she chooses to remain at the entrance so that she doesn't see her sisters in shame.
    • The Ala Mhigans in Final Fantasy XIV were ousted by the Garlean Empire from their homeland and were unable to return. By the events of the Stormblood expansion, the player character liberates Ala Mhigo from the Garleans, allowing most of the refugees to return home after being away for decades. Player-created Rava viera in the Shadowbringers expansion are also exiles who abandoned their hometown, in a similar vein to the aforementioned Fran.
    • Final Fantasy XV: early in the game, Noctis's hometown of Insomnia falls under Imperial occupation, preventing him from returning. Subverted in the last act of the game, as Noctis and his allies return to Insomnia to confront Ardyn. The Insomnia they return to, however, has been ravaged by daemons.
  • Rath from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade was outcast from the Kutolah tribe at a very young age, due to a prophecy that said he'd have a great future if he saw the world on his own. In his solo ending, he returns to the tribe after the end and his tribesmen welcome him back warmly; in his paired ending with Lyn, Rath comes back alone but some time later Lyn joins him. His daughter, Sue, becomes a playable character in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
  • This happens to Threo in Granblue Fantasy. Her second fate episode deals with the fact that her beloved forest was cut down to make place for a town. The grief of losing her homeland and the shattering of her values (as she can't figure how the forest, that she considered stronger than anything, could be destroyed by a bunch of harmless villagers) drive her straight into a Heroic BSoD.
  • Guilty Gear: Axl Low is a cheery, goofy British guy who got ripped out of his home time and keeps skipping through time randomly. His whole mission is to find out what's wrong with him and how he can get back to his friends and his girlfriend Megumi. Then in 'Xrd: Revelator, he's hit with the Tomato in the Mirror that basically he's a sentient bundle of time magic who can erase and rewrite timelines at will, that his old timeline may not even exist anymore, and that returning to his original time will mean wiping out the world as it exists now as they're mutually exclusive. In the climax, he's faced with the choice of either returning home to Megumi and leaving this world and all his new friends to their fate, or using his powers to help Sol and being stranded in this time. He decides on the latter.
  • The premise of the first Homeworld game, where you can't return to Kharak because The Empire has annihilated all life on the surface. In the end, everything works out fine, though.
    • The backstory for the second (numbered) game reveals that the reason the Taiidani took Hiigara for themselves was because their original homeworld was devastated by the Hiigarans.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force's Adrian Shephard can't go home again because he was trapped by the G-man in an alternate dimension to preserve him. All in the name of "discretion". Which ultimately is made more depressing by the fact that Earth is now a Crapsack World under the jackboots of the Combine.
  • In Halo Wars, the crew of the Spirit of Fire are left drifting in space after being forced to sacrifice their FTL drive. Twenty-eight years later in Halo Wars 2, they've somehow managed to end up outside of the galaxy.
  • He's only in a couple of missions, but in Injustice 2, Reverse-Flash. He reveals that one of his ancestors was killed while he was in the past, meaning that, while he can remember the future he came from, it doesn't exist for him to go back to any longer. He's pretty cut up about it.
  • In Jade Empire, the village where the Spirit Monk and Dawn Star grew up is burned to the ground at the end of the prologue. Subverted in that the Spirit Monk actually gets to go to Dirge, their real home, later in the game.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Jedi certainly aren't supposed to go home. Or have any contact with their family ever again, for that matter.
    • Carth Onasi's homeworld Telos was glassed by the Sith in the backstory.
      • A similar fate is inflicted on Juhani's and Mission's adopted homeworld Taris during the game.
    • Zaalbar was exiled from his homeworld for attacking his brother with his claws, a massive taboo among the Wookiees.
    • Visas Marr in the second game is one of the few remaining Miraluka after Darth Nihilus ate the souls of the entire population of Katarr.
    • The Handmaiden pissed Atris off enough by leaving with the male Exile that she probably wouldn't be welcome if she ever chose to return.
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a bit of an odd case. Raised as a Kokiri, he sets off on an adventure and is, in the process, blamed for the death of the Kokiri's guardian spirit, the Deku Tree. He returns after a seven year Time Skip only to discover that his childhood friends haven't aged a day in his absence, leading to the reveal that he isn't a Kokiri at all. Although his house is still there (and Malon will even send a cow there if you win her race), the game implies that Link cannot truly return to his hometown after his adventure due to being a Hylian (especially given that his guardian fairy, Navi, leaves him in the aftermath of his adventure. This is reinforced by the opening for the sequel, where it is revealed that, after his adventure was complete, Link disappears from the land that made him a legend...
  • In Little Inferno, the Arc Words are "You can go as far as you like, but you can't ever go back". And when your home burns down, that's it — it's time for you to to walk away, go on an adventure, and find something to do in the world more worthwhile than burning things in a fireplace.
  • This happens to Rourke and Adair in Long Gone Days. Following the game's First-Episode Twist, Adair attempts to transfer Rourke to a field hospital, but they're spotted by a drone which misconstrues them being outside the mission area as desertion; this, combined with Sgt. Branna hearing Rourke and Adair planning their escape, forces the two of them on the run, unable to return to the Core.
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, after Daos threatens all who ally themselves with Maxim, the people of every city in the world refuse to allow Maxim and his allies to enter -— even Elcid and Parcelyte. Once acquaintances of the party convince the world leaders to stand up against Daos and help stop Daos from inflicting his wrath, Maxim and his party are allowed back in.
  • In Luminous Arc 3 Sara and Sion come from a hundred years in the past, but were sent forward in time due to an experiment. While Sion adapted to living in the future, Sara still wants to return to the past. In the end both of them give up and continue their current lives, with Sara becoming the principal of Urgard and Sion becoming a famous actress. Depending on who you choose, the main reason they want to stay is they want to be with Levi.
  • Mass Effect
    • In all three of Shepard's backgrounds, they can never go home again: if you choose Earthborn, Shepard is an orphan who grew up on the streets; if you choose Colonist, Shepard's parents were killed and the colony razed in a batarian raid; if you choose Spaceborn, Shepard has a family, but grew up on multiple space stations and colonies as they moved around with the military.
    • Played with for Colonist Shepard in the third game. S/he mentions that they rebuilt Mindoir, but it wasn't the same afterwards, with his/her tone of voice indicating that it also contains too many painful memories. Shepard can go home again, s/he just doesn't want to.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Miranda parted from her father on rather bad terms.
      Miranda: Shots were fired.
    • Also in Mass Effect 2, Tali can end up exiled from her fleet during her loyalty mission.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Shepherd has to leave Earth due to the Reaper invasion, although that's only their "home" in one of the three possible backgrounds.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda follows a group of explorers as they go beyond the Milky Way Galaxy and make the journey to Andromeda. Since it takes 600 years to reach it, this is a strictly one-way trip. Plus, the arc ships launch only a year before the Reapers invade, so for all anyone knows, even if they could return, there might not be a home waiting for them.
  • Played with almost to the point of Mind Screw in Neverwinter Nights 2. The Knight-Captain's Doomed Hometown actually fights off the attack that normally destroys it in that trope, with only four villagers (a Guest-Star Party Member and three militia redshirts) confirmed dead. About two-thirds of the way through the plot, the village actually is destroyed by the Big Bad, but most of the villagers survive and, in the good ending, return to rebuild. Mask of the Betrayer takes the tack of moving the Knight-Captain to the other side of the continent. In two of the Multiple Endings, s/he gets to go home and potentially get married there. Another two endings play it straight by either having the Knight-Captain stay on the Fugue Plane permanently to bind the Spirit-eater there, or having him/her embrace their hunger and go on a rampage through the universe eating every spirit in sight.
  • You if you're a player character in Nexus Clash. Just being pulled into the titular Clash means that the entire universe you came from has been destroyed and no longer exists to go home to. The best you can do is help win the war in the name of a Power who will shape a new world more in line with your ideals, but even then you're stuck in the war and can't go live there.
  • In Ōkami, your Ninja Butterfly Issun ran away from home rather than become a celestial envoy and refuses to accompany you when you have a chance to go to his hometown. Also, the celestial beings murdered by Yami can't ever go back to the Celestial Plane.
  • In Otherspace, the universe that houses our solar system began to break apart due to a massive war between titanic forces, forcing the players to make the journey to a new universe and start over there.
  • In Shadowverse, this is what Rowen fears the most, as the Black Dragon cursed him to transform into a dragon if his desire to protect someone is strong enough. At least not until he breaks the Black Dragon's curse, or else he'd be forced to kill his family.
  • In the first The Sims game, if a child fails school, s/he will be sent to military school and will never be seen or heard from again. Same thing for couples who break up. One of them will leave the house and will never be seen or heard from again.
  • In Star Ocean 1, Roddick and his friends are invited by Captain Ronyx to join him on his starship in the hopes of finding a cure to a plague that is petrifying the inhabitants of his homeworld of Roak. Ronyx warns them, however, that should they accept, they would not be able to return home ever again, in accordance with the Undeveloped Planet Preservation Pact.
  • This is a recurring trait in the Suikoden series:
    • Suikoden has you being branded as traitors to the Empire, and being forced to flee from Gregminster. After taking up arms against them and fighting their forces back for the entire game, you finally return to and invade Gregminster at the very end of the game.
    • In Suikoden II, you become branded as traitor's to your home country, and upon first returning to Kyaro, are arrested. After being rescued from your imminent execution, you're unable to return there until quite late in the game, around the time when you lay siege to the country's capital.
    • In Suikoden III, Hugo experiences this early on when the Zexen Knights invade and burn down Karaya Village. Also implied for Watari, whose ninja clan is set to kill him for abandoning them.
    • Averted in Suikoden IV. Though you are scapegoated and exiled for a crime you didn't commit early in the game, you do eventually come back. Given the circumstances of your return, it's not a very happy occasion. And it's not really your homeland anyway. Ironically your original home is one of the first places you visit after you are exiled.
    • In Suikoden V, you are forced to leave home when the palace is attacked and the hero's parents are killed, and are unable to return to Sol Falena until winning every battle in the game.
  • Super Mario Galaxy had a subplot which demonstrated that remaining in space too long will result in you finding all of your friends on Earth now long dead.
  • For most of Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd is exiled from his hometown due to a petulant proclamation by an arrogant mayor who scapegoats him for the town's problems. Admittedly, Lloyd did cause Iselia to be damaged, but it was accidental and more the fault of the Desians attacking the town after they spotted Lloyd. It's ultimately averted, since he's let back in during the game's second act, despite the mayor's protests.
    • There's also a more literal example with Presea, after Ozette is destroyed by Cruxis.
  • In Terranigma, Ark is literally unable to return to his home in the underworld, as the portal in the ground closes after he goes to the surface. The game plays with this idea, allowing him to purchase a home in the surface world, but it only serves to heighten a sense of homesickness which the character comments on in one of the climaxes. In the end, he is finally allowed to return home... only for him to seal it away by necessity, since his home was the domain of Dark Gaia.
  • In the Warcraft universe, those High Elves who remain loyal to the Alliance, after most of their brethren join the Blood Elves who defect to the Horde. Also those humans and elves who fled the kingdom of Lordaeron when it fell to the undead.
    • Recent developments in World of Warcraft: The blood elves of formerly-neutral Dalaran have all been arrested, kicked out, or killed as the city-state joins the Alliance. Also, Vol'jin, leader of the Horde's trolls, lived through an assassination attempt from one of Garrosh's soldiers and is now hiding out in Pandaria while the Horde believes him dead.
  • In Wild ARMs as well, Rudy is exiled from his adopted hometown by the town's mayor for releasing monsters into the village, after said mayor orders him to go into a dank cave and poke random things with a stick until something interesting happens.
    • Made stranger by the fact that not even an hour later he is in the company of a knight and a princess, both of whom could have easily stood up for his character and cleared his name.
    • Less strange when you realize he was exiled for using forbidden Lost Technology (even if, in the original, you choose not to; The Remake changes things so that the gun is the only weapon Rudy has.)
    • In the remake, a sidequest is added where Rudy can get the entire village to ask for his forgiveness when the same monster he had to take down with said gun comes back. Such sidequest is necessary to access one of the game's ultimate summons.
  • The Exiles of WildStar are an entire faction of this, depressingly enough.
    • The Exile Humans were chased off of their homeworld of Cassus when The Empire instituted oppressive policies and cracked down on any and all dissenters.
    • The Granok fought against the Dominion, turning the tide of the war by stealing their tech and chasing them off. Their leaders, however, believed them to have betrayed their ideals (said leaders were ready to accept death) and banished them.
    • The Aurin were innocents who the Dominion targeted when they learned they were helping the Exiles, harvesting their planet's natural resources until it was laid barren.
    • The Mordesh used to be allies of the Dominion until a medical breakthrough they created backfired horribly, turning the race into "space zombies". When the Dominion abandoned them, they turned to the Exiles for help.
  • World of Mana
    • Secret of Mana for the SNES kicked off the plot with this, when The Hero is kicked out of his home village for removing a rusty sword from a stone, thus drawing monsters to it. In order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, he has to find a way to unlock the sword's true potential. With a little glitching, he can go home again, but he can't get out.
    • In Trials of Mana, if you have Duran in your party and try to enter his house in Valsena, he will say that he can't return home until he has killed the Crimson Wizard, and the party will be unable to enter the house. Even after you kill the Crimson Wizard you still can't enter his house!
  • In X: Beyond the Frontier, Terran test pilot Kyle Brennan is marooned in a distant star system after the Xperimental Shuttle's jumpdrive goes haywire during a test flight. He spends the rest of the game surviving, and the expansion pack X-Tension building a Mega-Corp called TerraCorp to try and develop a way to get back home.
    • In X3: Reunion, three games and several dozen years later, the Solar System is reconnected to the X-Universe's Portal Network at the end of the main plot. By this time, Kyle Brennan has a grown son in the X-Universe, is a war hero, and is the head of a multibillion-credit company. At best, he'd likely be a Stranger in a Familiar Land.
    • The X-Encyclopedia included in the X-Superbox series collection states that he did return to Earth after Reunion, and began working as a political activist in favor of closer diplomatic relations between the Terrans and the Community of Planets. It didn't help much; Earth soon became embroiled in a Space Cold War with the Commonwealth, which erupted into a hot war about a decade later.


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