What games had easy soft locks that prevented you from either progressing or getting a true ending?

The thought came to mind after reading a recent post about Baldurs Gate 3 here but it reminded me of the Japense only PSX game Mizzurna Falls where if you don’t perform a certain action early in the game you are prevented from getting a true ending. While this might not be a traditional soft lock because you can still progress to a point it made me wonder none the less.

I understand BG3 might be a hard lock because the game abruptly comes to a close I am not going to get into the semantics. The only other soft locks I can think of are with Pokemon.

Shout out to the fan translation of Mizzurna Falls. An article on the ROMHacking.net website can be found here.


Elder Scrolls Daggerfall was surely the peek of this, you get a letter at the start telling you to meet a woman in a bar on a set date - turn up too early and she won’t be there, but if you mess around on sidequests and don’t have enough time to travel there so are late then she’ll leave and the main quest never really happens.

There were a million other ways to lock your ability to progress but I always remember that, I don’t know if it was possible to get back on track but I don’t think so, I probably played a thousand hours before I did a run where I even started the main quest

@CorrodedCranium@leminal.space avatar

Is there anyway to know that you missed her? Like a letter left behind or an NPC telling you?


I think it comes up with a little note on the screen telling you that it’s no longer possible to compete the game, you’d get that randomly in a dungeon too because two miles away a bad guy randomly died – belive it out not Todd Howard has got much better since 1996

SkeletalWizard, (edited )

Oh the joys of King’s Quest V. The most notorius soft lock is one that happens so fast that you would never suspect it to be a soft lock. Early in the game, the player will come across a scene where a cat is chasing a mouse. Now, this should make the player go “OH NO, THE POOR MOUSE!” and help the mouse. However, the scene is tied to your CPU speed so you have a total of 2-4 seconds to go into your inventory, select the item to yeet at the cat, and save the mouse. Many players will blink and just go, “Alright well that happened.” So, the player goes on and finally gets to a point in the game where Graham gets knocked out and tied up in a basement. Yeah your game just ends here if you didn’t save the mouse because the mouse chews through the ropes. THERE IS NO INDICATOR, AT ALL, THAT THE MOUSE IS THE KEY TO SOLVING THE PUZZLE. NONE.

There is also another soft lock into the end game that involves you having decided to pick up a fishhook earlier so you can use it on a mousehole for a piece of cheese. Yeah, if you don’t do that, you can’t power a wand to use to beat the game’s villain. And you’d probably think; “Oh I can just go back and get it.” Yeah, you can, but if you do you’ll also be trapped in there and your game is over again. So you HAVE to know to get it the first time.

And people wonder why LucasArts titles are more fondly beloved over the earlier Sierra titles.

Zoboomafoo, (edited )
@Zoboomafoo@lemmy.world avatar

King’s Quest VI, if you wait a few minutes on the strting beach, there’s a 5-pixel momentary glint that turns out to be a coin. If you leave the beach beforehand, it’s gone forever and the game is in an unwinnable state.

That game was horseshit and I really want to give it another go

SkeletalWizard, (edited )

I always forget about the coin because I learned my lesson from all the bullshit one screen items from Space Quest IV as well. Also, I’d like to mention the game that was programmed to never let you get the true ending due to legal issues. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream could never be truly beaten for the best ending in the French and German releases. Mainly due to the character Nimdok’s storyline being entirely centered around Nazis and the surgical “experiments” that happened. I’m not here to dwell on that, but what I am here to dwell on is that when the game was released, French and German players could not get the true ending due to CyberDreams forgetting to check off the trigger for Nimdok succeeding in his game. So, the game was always in its fail state up until 2013 or so when it was finally released on Steam and GOG. The game was in an unwinnable state for those releases for almost 20 years. No revised version with a fix was ever issued until the worldwide release.


I’m sure others have mentioned it here, but…

Chrono Trigger.

@Nihilore@lemmy.world avatar

Takeshi’s challenge I think it was called. Notoriously bullshit game on the famicon



All 3 games require you do/don’t kill certain people at different levels in order to get the ‘true ending’. When I first played I just killed anything that moved, but then found out the consequences of doing so. Honestly it improved my game experience so much more when I had to carefully consider each action.

@AlexisFR@jlai.lu avatar

At least Exodus good ending is way easier to get imo, just don’t kill non bandits humans. (and don’t act like an ass around your crew)


While playing Final Fantasy X the first time, I got to Old Zanarkand and inside the dome, I saved behind a sealed door in the Cloister of Trials. I wasn’t savvy to good saving practices and after solving the puzzle, got into a battle I was completely hopeless to defeat. There was no way to walk back out the door from which I entered, the only way out was through; and with my existing inventory, spells, charged up aeons, etc. I absolutely could not defeat the boss.

It was pretty crushing because this moment is so close to the end of the game, but I gave up and had to come back months (years?) later to fully start the game over. I think maybe I played 99+ hours of Final Fantasy VII and then decided to give X another try. The second time, I was much smarter with maintaining multiple save games for safety. Not to be bested again, I grinded up all of my limit breaks and aeons for safety and completely obliterated the boss in one go the next time around.


That Zanarkand Cloister of Trial is nowhere near the end


Oh I vaguely remembered it being beyond the ¾ point, but also I wouldn’t have known and it certainly FELT like that was the case when I got soft locked.

JokeDeity, (edited )

Not exactly the same but sort of related: the first time I played the New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, I accidentally shot a character that is meant to be a companion, turned him and essentially all quest characters hostile and basically forced the game to direct me from the opening of the DLC to the final mission because I couldn’t do anything to side with anyone. I thought it was the shortest most bullshit DLC with not nearly enough to do for at least a few years before I played it again and realized how much I missed.




No that’s Dead Money, this was Follows-Chalk.


Ohhhh lol I got the names confused.

I’ll have to try that in a playthrough one day to see how it goes.


But that is one of my favorite characters in the whole game.


Which no one mentioned the classic

come to tye first town + hit a chicken + get in an infinite fight with Delphine + don’t talk to blades + never fight alduin = Skyrim

Thus was my first playthrough of Skyrim

@CorrodedCranium@leminal.space avatar

Isn’t Skyrim one of those games where you can mess around for a bit and eventually come back and proceed like nothing ever happened?

In Fallout 4 you can use the Nuka World DLC to push the Minutemen to whatever settlement you left Preston in or the Castle but I think there’s always the option for redemption because they are the fail safe faction. I figured Skyrim would have something similar.

fushuan, (edited )

Yeah you need to be imprisoned by the guard of whiterun and it’s all gucci with delphine


I stole a book for a quest with a shitton of witnesses, ran away, got out of town because of the guards having patching issues, stopped at my home and dumped my mostly-stolen inventory and returned and turned myself into the guards paying 40 gold to redeem myself for stealing a priceless book. Skyrim is a masterpiece of realism I tell you!


In Skyrim there’s a ton of ways you can hardlock yourself I believe in fallout 4 should be some too, it’s more flexible though

@CorrodedCranium@leminal.space avatar

Can you provide an example? I think most of the time there are ways to fix mistakes; at least when it comes to the main quest line.


Fallout 1. During the term to the Master there is a 200 second countdown.

If you fooled up the speech check or want to do it differently and reload a save that was made after the countdown started then the countdown drops to 50 seconds. Making the fight impossible to do in time.


I think you just helped me solve why I never finished it when I was 8 lol.

I was at the ending but was never able to finish it before the countdown ended. Now I need to install the game again!

GrayBackgroundMusic, (edited )

Xmen on Sega genesis. At one point you have to literally reset the console. I was 10 and didn’t understand that’s what it was telling me to do. No game had ever done that, and prof x was breaking the 4th wall telling the player to do that. The game never broke the 4th wall otherwise. I didn’t understand until a decade later when I read it on some listicle.

Theharpyeagle, (edited )

I’m pretty sure I soft locked my New Vegas save a good few years ago, or at least locked myself out of the ending I wanted. I was going for the Yes-Man ending, but I wanted to let House upgrade the robots first. I let him do it and then killed him to get the platinum chip back, but turns out he didn’t have it on him. Without any way to give the chip to Yes-Man, I was SoL. I think you can still complete the game with a couple other factions, but I know for sure that I already pissed The Legion off so I don’t know how many options are left. Maybe I’ll dig up that save somehow and try again.

Also, In the original Thief games (Thief: The Dark Project, Thief: Gold, and Thief 2), there was a brief fadeout period between dying and getting kicked to the game over screen. This death state didn’t lock the controls, so you could still move around, interact with objects, and, critically, quicksave. If you happened to quicksave at the moment of your death, there was nothing you could do to get out of dying. There was only one quicksave slot and no autosaves, so if you weren’t manually saving every now and then, you had to start the entire game over. Learned to make occasional checkpoint saves the hard way.

The death mechanic did lead to at least one hilarious fan mission where you had to get through a door and complete the mission after falling to your death.


Yes Man is the failsafe ending, so you should always be able to do it I’m pretty sure. Killing Yes Man should work like killing Victor and he just jumps to a new body if I remember correctly.


Link to the fan mission? I’ve been getting my annual itch to go back to The City


I guess this is tangentially related. RDR2 had the full ending for Author and then kept going. I didn’t care what happened beyond that so I never finished the epilogue.


That’s not a soft lock and your clearly never played the first game lol.

Mr_Buscemi, (edited )

Aw you missed out on some fun parts of the game. If you were just playing for Arthur’s story then I can understand why you’d stop there though. I’ll spoiler tag the stuff below but it’s why I think the epilogue is worth it if you wanted closure on something dealing with Arthur.

!Micah is a totally bitch. Epilogue dealt with John dealing with him and that shit was great !<

Won’t say more about it than that.


I heard later that >!Micah finally gets his in the epilogue!< and meant to go back to finish it, but never did. I still may some day!


Ys 8 has a soft lock toward the end where if you didn’t do enough side quests to build up enough affinity with your castaway group and party members you would get treated to a bad/neutral ending. Fortunately at that soft lock point there are enough ways to build up those points so you can progress past that point.


The Ooze. My memory on this is fuzzy but on genetics lab part 2, there is a room you can enter that has a checkpoint. If you enter the room then you’re locked inside and if you collect the checkpoint and die, you will respawn back into the room and your only option is to lose all your lives or reset the game. I remember getting really pissed off finding this when I was a kid because I spent days trying to beat the game and I had a really good run up until that moment.

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