Where It All Began

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"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."
Trias the Betrayer, Planescape: Torment

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, Book Ends, and Go Back to the Source.

Not related to When It All Began, that is a chronology trope.

As an Ending Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Where It All Began include:

Anime and 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.
  • 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.
  • In Ranma ½, the titular 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).
  • 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 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 Gundam 0, the first Gundam ever made using the first GN Drive. Made doubly more interesting since Ribbons is Evil Amuro due to his voice actor and Gundam 0 is the spitting image of the original RX-78-2.
  • 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.
  • 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 One Piece, Pirate King Gold Roger was finally brought to execution at his home town, Logue Town.
    • In fact, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 as a child to become a prince and save her. 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.
  • 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 obsessive collector in Pokémon: The Movie 2000 quotes this at the end, when he finds the first card he ever collected in the smashed ruins of everything else he collected.

"Where it all began. And where it will begin, again."



  • 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 first movie of the Star Wars Original Trilogy 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.
  • 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 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).
  • Kung Fu Panda almost ended like this. The Wu Shi 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 the outside, since that version did not make as much sense.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Hangover[context?]
  • Finding Nemo ends in the reef, with the characters doing the same things they did in the first scene, only differently, to reflect how the moral changed them.
  • Rock and Rule begins and ends in Ohmtown.
  • The Lion King ends with Simba returning to the Pride Lands to defeat his uncle Scar and take his rightful place as king.
  • The Fugitive starts out at a hospital benefit at a swanky Chicago hotel, and ends at a similar conference at another one.
  • The Secret of Moonacre's climax takes place at the clifftop where the Moon Princess married Sir Wrolf Merryweather.
  • The film version of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy has its climax and ending in Arthur's home.


  • The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings was 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.
      • And Sam speaks the very last words of the story in Bag End, where Bilbo was right at the beginning of The Hobbit.
  • The final showdown in Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe takes place in the same casino where the novel started.
  • 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.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Faith & Fire, Vaun's Backstory 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Warrior Cats series, 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.

Live-Action TV

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: 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.
  • 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 the middle of the fourth season (making it pretty much halfway through the show's run, how appropriate), 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.
  • The Stargate SG-1 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 "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.
      • Wait what, I was under the impression that Earth was where Humans were enslaved who were later turned into Jaffa.
      • Dakara was where the Jaffa were first engineered from captured humans (who were indeed from Earth), hence why the Jaffa Rebellion chose it as the location of their Last Stand.
  • The Prisoner finale, when

Number Six walks into his London flat

  • The final showdown of The Fugitive takes place in Kimble's home town of Stafford, Illinois.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga‍'‍s Final Battle occurred at the mountain where the Grongi were originally sealed.
  • 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.



  • 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."

Video Games

  • This trope was originally named "The Malachor" after the planet in Knights of the Old Republic II that inspired it. Despite the fact that, during the gameplay, you've never actually been to Malachor. Like many of Bioware's favorite tropes, it is very popular in other Bioware/Obsidian games as well; it occurs in:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • But subverted in Baldur's Gate I: 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.
    • Appears somewhat 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.
    • 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 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.
  • The final battle with Big Bad 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 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.
    • Also used in Chain of Memories, where Traverse Town (the Hub world from the first game) is the final level.
    • 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.
    • In 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 occuring across games in 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.
  • The final battle with Chairman Drek in Ratchet & Clank 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.
  • 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.
    • The first stage of Mega Man X5 is an important location in Megaman Zero 4.
    • 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 first stage of Mega Man X7 has Zero return to the first stage of Mega Man X.
    • Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity has the fight with Pharaoh Man, which starts out in the very first room of his stage.
  • 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.
  • 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 protagonist of RGBY 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.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of Pokémon XD is located right off the coast of Gateon Port, the First Town.
    • No mention of the obvious fact that 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?
  • The first Galaxy Angel game started and ended with the Angels launching from the White Moon and battling around it.
  • In Super Robot Wars D, The final battlefield is located in the South Pole; where you first get control of the Original Characters
  • The first Suikoden game 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.
  • At the end of Skies of Arcadia, the deserted floating temple that was the game's first dungeon has become the entrance to the final one.
  • In Phantasy Star IV, the gate to the final dungeon is on the same planet you started from.
  • 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.
  • In the original Final Fantasy I game, the final task of the Light Warriors, after killing the four elemental Fiends and reviving the power of the Crystals, is to go back 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.
    • 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 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.
    • 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 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.
  • The final dungeon in Legend of Legaia takes place in the Heroic Mute's hometown... at least, where it USED to be before a giant monster consumed and assimilated it.
  • 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 Cosmic Horror's lair. It isn't easy though, as Ness' hometown has become over run with aliens in the meantime.
    • After the end credits of EarthBound, Ness is awoken late at night by someone knocking on his front door, just like at the beginning...but this time it's Picky, delivering a message from Pokey promising revenge.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • With the chapter title "... 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 1. You even face off against the same enemy.
    • In addition, the entire final level 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 1 level The Silent Cartographer.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • StarTropics II: Zoda's Revenge plays this trope in a sort of fanservice way. 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.
  • 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.
  • In In Famous, the final boss battle is fought at the site of the explosion that began the game.
  • 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.
  • 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..."
  • If you finish the higher difficulty mode in No More Heroes, you end up fighting the TRUE final boss Henry, in the parking lot right outside your own home where you'd be after every Ranked Fight.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The final showdown in Assassin's Creed takes place in the very same castle you began the game in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 becouse 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.
  • Sly 2's final battle ends in Paris, the area where the first game begins Sly's quest to avenge his father and his family's name.
    • Not to mention Paris is the first level of the second game as well.
  • 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.
  • 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: Silent Assassin begins with 47 working in a church in Sicily, and features the final showdown in the same church, after which he leaves.
        • Aaand, 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.
  • 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.
  • The final episode of Disgaea 3 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.
  • The second to last story stage of Time Splitters 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.
  • In Legacy of Kain : Blood Omen 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.
  • Super Mario Advance 3 takes you back to the Training Course in stage Secret 6, but not before getting though some of the hardest obstacles in this stage. The Training Course is the stage where you start a new game before entering World 1.
  • 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.
    • Don't forget the obvious. 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.
  • 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's games four stages.
  • 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 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.
  • Twice in The Legend of Zelda: 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 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.
  • In Fire Emblem 4, the prologue begins in Chalphy with Sigurd setting out to save Edain. In the final chapter, the last stretch of the war begins in Chalphy with Celice setting out to end a 20-year Holy War and save Yuria in the proccess.
  • 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.
  • Paper Mario's first battle is against Bowser at Peach's castle. The second-to-last boss, 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.
  • 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.
  • Digimon World 3, sort of. The final battle takes place in an almost identical equivalent of the building where the player first arrived in the Digital World.
  • 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.
  • Dawn of Mana begins and ends with a chase through the same Lost Woods... but the second time around, you're going after the evil Sorceress after she's pulled a Grand Theft Me on Unlucky Childhood Friend Ritzia and the monsters have all been corrupted by Echoes.
  • Metroid Fusion begins and ends in the shuttle landing dock of BSL.
    • 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.
  • Portal briefly takes you back to the second level (which is now a piece of cake, due to being able to fire two portals) before the final boss.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a Spoiler Title by that sense.
  • Borderlands 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 parent's murder, bringing it back to where it began not for the events of the game, but for Batman himself.
  • 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.
  • DLC for Mass Effect 3, "From Ashes", will include a mission on Eden Prime, where the very first mission in the very first game took place.
  • The Hive, the heart of the Kreegan infestation of Enroth during and before VI and one of the landing points during the Night of Falling 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.
  • 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.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, the adventure technically begins in Tataroo Valley. In the Epilogue, when Luke/Asch/whoever comes back, everything takes place in Tataroo Valley. It's also an example of a distant finale, in that it all takes place two and a half years after the end of the game/anime.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In the original Transformers cartoon, the story began on the nearly drained Cybertron in "More Then 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 third season of 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 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.
  • "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.
  • 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 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!