- The following article is based on a subject that has not been officially named in any official Square Enix material; the current title is merely a placeholder.
The Point of No Return is a term used to describe the point, in-game, that happens a little before the Final Boss. From this point, it is impossible to turn back, and, as such, the only way to go is toward the boss. Usually, a save point can be found right before it.
Also, a message, usually a spoken monologue by the main player, will appear, questioning if the party should continue. In several remakes there is no Point of No Return because once the Final Boss is defeated, the player can save their game and return to the World Map where they can access version-exclusive bonus dungeons.
While entering the Chaos Shrine of the Past can be considered as the Point of No Return - as the player cannot simply walk out of the dungeon - the party can still return to the World Map by casting Exit. The player passes the Point of No Return when they speak with Garland at the end of the dungeon.
In the original version, the Point of No Return is passed once the player enters Pandaemonium, as the portals only allow the player to enter, but they do not allow the party to escape from the castle. There is no Point of No Return in the remakes of Final Fantasy II from 2002 onward. After the party defeats Emperor Mateus on the top level of Castle Pandaemonium, the player is simply taken back to the World Map.
The Point of No Return in Final Fantasy III is the top of the Crystal Tower right before fighting Xande. Following that battle, the player cannot leave the room, and has no choice but to go forward into the World of Darkness to battle the Final Boss, the Cloud of Darkness.
The Point of No Return in Final Fantasy IV is found directly after running up the stairs and the confrontation with Zemus on the final floor of the Lunar Subterrane in the moon's core. Straight after that the script, including two scripted battles, will take the player to the final confrontation with Zeromus. In the Advance remake, there is no true Point of No Return, as after the party kills Zeromus, an all-clear file can be saved and the bonus dungeon, Lunar Ruins, can be accessed.
The game is entirely linear - after being flown to a new location the previous region and nearby locations are inaccessible.
After travelling to the True Moon in the final Tale, the player cannot return to Earth. Within the Depths and Bottommost Depths of the True Moon however, the player can turn back any time they wish up until the actual battle with the final boss.
Earlier Tales have individual points of no return. In Rydia's Tale, after going to Agart the player cannot return to the Underworld. In Yang's Tale, once boarding the ship to Baron the player cannot return to Fabul, but when the Tale is reloaded after completion they will be back at Fabul to explore Yang's Challenge Dungeon. Likewise in Edward's Tale, the ship to Baron is the end point of the Tale, but reloading it after it is completed puts the player at Kaipo before boarding the ship. In Kain's Tale, the point of no return is Damcyan, after the events there the player flies to Baron.
Porom's Tale is divided into three parts over different periods of time, and the player can only proceed through the first two points once. Similarly, Edge's Tale is divided into five parts, and the player can only explore each area once. The last area in both storylines can be explored freely as the player wishes.
Palom's Tale and the Lunarian's Tale have no points of no return.
The Point of No Return is located in the narrow path between the party and Exdeath's tree form at the final area of the Interdimensional Rift. After the Warriors of Dawn break the player party out of the Void, if the narrow path is approached, Bartz will immediately leap towards Exdeath and start the final battle.
Interestingly enough, if you leave the zone just after the cutscene before the final battle and return to the zone where you battle Exdeath, the music changes from 'Ahead on our Way' to 'In Search of Light.' This could be considered an error in the game due to the fact that the music event was switched off when the player leaves. This could have been fixed if the developers removed the event that allowed the player to leave the zone.
The Point of No Return is in Kefka's Tower, at the latest possible point right before triggering the final boss fight by stepping on the switches behind the Warring Triad. This Point of No Return is removed in the Game Boy Advance remake, where defeating Kefka allows the player to save the game and resume outside the Tower.
Once the player approaches the Warring Triad on the Floating Continent after defeating Ultima Weapon, this is the Point of No Return for the World of Balance - the player must play through the end of the world and proceed to the World of Ruin. At a point before Ultima Weapon, the player can return to the Blackjack to continue to explore the World of Balance.
The Point of No Return is within the Northern Cave right above the Planet's Core. The exact spot is the room where the party regroups after splitting up.
The room of the Northern Cave where the party first splits up can also become a point of no return due to the Save Crystal Glitch.
The Point of No Return is a large door in the Banora Underground, which requires seven Goddess Materia to open. Beyond that, there is only the final battles.
Also, since the game is largely linear, once a player completes a Chapter, they can never return to that location, and any treasures found there are lost forever. Once the player finishes Chapter 8 and proceeds to Nibelheim in Chapter 9, Midgar and all missions unlocked by doing sidequests in Midgar cannot be revisited. Up until this point, most of these sidequests carry over between chapters and can be done in any chapter until the player leaves for Nibelheim. The final chapters of the game, like the rest of the game, take the player to areas that cannot be revisited once left.
The game is entirely linear, so there is no special Point of No Return. The entire game from start to finish can be considered a Point of No Return. Old battles can be replayed, though, by the player simply going back to that Chapter and selecting the point at which they want to start the game up again.
The fight with Seifer within Lunatic Pandora is considered a Point of No Return, as once he is defeated, the player will have no choice but to go to the boss fight against Adel, and Time Compression happens after she is defeated. While the player can still access the World Map, nearly all locations are inaccessible, with only Chocobo Forests and dungeons containing GFs are available to enter. The official Point of No Return is when the party enter the Master's Room of Ultimecia Castle which is where they battle Ultimecia.
The passage to Terra can be considered a Point of No Return, as many areas will be inaccessible once the party returns to Gaia. The official Point of No Return is after the party defeats Deathguise. The player will be given an opportunity to save outside the portal, but a second trip in will start the boss fight with Trance Kuja.
The player passes the Point of No Return when they approach the Tower of the Dead and enter the Nucleus Inside Sin.
The Point of No Return occurs right after crossing the portal in the Farplane to fight Vegnagun and Shuyin. Surprisingly, the player is forced forward right after Rikku warns of the Point of No Return, yet is possible to backtrack to the save point even after defeating the lesser parts of Vegnagun.
The Point of No Return is when the party enters the Sky Fortress Bahamut, though many of the areas in the game become inaccessible after leaving them. The game helpfully warns the player while saving in locations they cannot leave before defeating a boss, like the Dreadnought Leviathan.
The Point of No Return is in the Narthex of Orphan's Cradle. At the end of the Narthex is a door; upon approaching it, Lightning will announce, "Let's do this", and the door will open. Upon passing through the doorway, the party will have passed the Point of No Return into Orphan's Chamber for the boss fight with Barthandelus. It should be noted that during the post-game, this door will always be open and Lightning will give no warning prior to entering it.
The Point of No Return occurs is after the player reaches the final platform and approaches the Academy's headquarters in Academia at 500 AF. The following cutscene will mean the player has passed the Point of No Return.
The Point of No Return is the bridge at the top of Dime Tower. The bridge collapses upon trying to cross it, trapping the player in the final dungeon.
The Point of No Return is the square in front of the door following Ashura. This square is a trap door: stepping on it will drop the player to a final town at the entrance of the final dungeon, and will prevent access to any previous world or to the interior of the Tower.
The Point of No Return proper is the battle with Apollo inside the Central Shrine, after which the player is forced to descend into the Shrine and the battle with the two Arsenals. However, simply entering the Final World can be hazardous, as Apollo will strip the party of its MAGI after the battle with Minion. This will permanently hamper the party's combat abilities and access to the Pillar of Sky.
The final Point of No Return is the Orbonne Monastery at the end of Chapter 4. In Final Fantasy Tactics, if a location is home to a series of battles, the player can never leave until those battles are completed. Since the Orbonne battles lead directly to the final confrontation in the Necrohol of Mullonde, the player can never return to the World Map again.
Mystic Quest doesn't have a Point of No Return - even once the player enters the room with the final boss, they can still leave freely and go back into the World Map if they so choose. That said, actually winning the game is the Point of No Return.
Dissidia Final Fantasy does not have a point of no return. During random encounters in a board system, it is impossible to escape the battle, use any skills, etc. However, the player can still quit the current progression.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy does not have a Point of No Return due to the fact, similar to its predecessor, the player can quit the gateway at any point. During Chapter 8 of Main Scenario 012: Treachery of the Gods at Floor 3 in the Last Gateway, some of the back stones for the player to walk on disappear, giving the impression of a Point of No Return, but the player may still exit the gateway.