Sometimes after you finish a game main storyline the game doesn't end there, and presents other opportunities to finish old quests or perhaps unlock new areas.

Examples of this are like Fallout 3 (with DLC), which allowed you to continue playing and completing quests even after the game's main storyline had completed. In fact, it opened up new quests that were previously unavailable had the main storyline not be completed. Another example is Final Fantasy 4 for the GBA; after completion of the game and the defeat of the final boss, you were allowed to access secret areas that opened on the maps as well as take on challenge bosses for fun.

I am looking for the terminology to describe this.

  • 1
    When I finished my New Vegas it did actually end. I didn't expect it to, but it did. All of items I picked up in the last quest, wasted.
    – Izzo
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 7:59
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    As one very specific example of the term, Kingdom of Loathing calls it "aftercore", as a play on the "hardcore" and "softcore" modes (which both end when aftercore starts).
    – Bobson
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 15:33
  • @Bobson I play KoL too but I thought that term was only local to KoL itself, and not as a general term for post-game
    – childe
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 17:04
  • Over decades of gaming post game has stuck out as the most common for me. End game seems to have become more popular since the advent of mmorpgs but I would still use post game. Epilogue has never been common as far as I have seen but mash ups of post story/main quest etc have.
    – kenjara
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 12:13
  • IIRC Chuggaaconroy (a YouTube Let's Player) usually refers to it as the aftergame.
    – Lou
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 17:43

10 Answers 10


"Post-completion" or "post-game" is what I commonly hear. Sometimes people will qualify it as "post-main-quest" or similar.

This is distinct from "new game plus" types of replayability that simply restarts the game allowing you to keep some stats or items or whatnot.


I would call it the epilogue.

  • As I recall, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue specifically refers to theirs as the Epilogue.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 18:17
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    I think that epilogue usually means the last part of the main story (often explaining what happens long term in the game world), not the part after the main story.
    – svick
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 15:07
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    @svick epilogue can fit but it is a bit vague. Quote from wikipedia: "Some epilogues may feature scenes only tangentially related to the subject of the story. They can be used to hint at a sequel or wrap up all the loose ends." In my opinion finishing the side quests is like wrapping all the loose ends. Although the wiki-article is based on literature and film.
    – Tom
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:51
  • Games are a form of story telling, and the epilogue is post climax. Though, I have always hated it. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:43

There is not widely agreed upon terminology for the example you've given (ability to play content which you could have played before completing the game after completing it). As others have already answered terms like "Epilogue" or "Post-game" are fairly common.

There are some more specific cases of "play after completion" with more well-defined terminology though.

End-game refers to content which can only be accessed after "completion". This is most commonly used in terms of MMOs where it refers to things that you can only do after reaching max level (like Raids in World of Warcraft). Another example would be Pokémon which often has features that can only be used after defeating the Elite Four and/or the Champion.

New Game Plus refers starting a new game and importing some benefit from the completed save. Usually this is something like keeping your level in an RPG, so it's like you are continuing your progression.

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    -1 The MMO "end-game" is something so VASTLY different from what has been asked here. Incredibly misleading. Shouldn't be here.
    – o0'.
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 14:22
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    @Lohoris Pokémon end-game is precisely what he was asking about. Given that I explained exactly how this term is used in MMOs I don't see how it could be misleading. Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 14:29
  • The "Elder Game" is what it seems to get called in MMO dev circles - I suspect the term was coined by Richard Bartle. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 4:11

The LEGO series of games normally allows "free play" after the main quests are done. You may go back and complete optional objectives that you did not complete before. In addition, there may be bonuses that are impossible to get on the first playthrough. For example, perhaps level 1 has a secret requiring a specific ability to achieve, but the LEGO character with that ability only becomes available in level 4.

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    "Free play" is the term I've most commonly heard for "continued play without game termination at the end of the main quest." Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 4:12

I've always considered this to be called the "post game".

As another example the Pokemon series has lots of content after you see the game's credits.


In literature its called denouement, the part, after the main action, where loose ends are tied up.

  • 1
    And what makes your answer any different from what Benubird's answer was?
    – childe
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 20:35
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    @memescientist Better spelling?
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 7:39

I've heard it called, and call it myself, the Post-Game sandbox, which to me includes side missions that you start after the main "game" is finished.


First word that comes to mind is, denoument.

Definition: The events following the climax of a drama or novel in which such a resolution or clarification takes place.

Although this might better asked on https://english.stackexchange.com/

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    Denoument is a great word for describing the post climax events of a story or movie, but less applicable to games imo because the uncompleted events in games do not always focus on the same story as the main quest.
    – Josh
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 18:35

For many Nintendo games, e.g. Super Mario Galaxy, it's called the game. The ostensible victory condition and end of the story (such as it is) are achieved very quickly, with perhaps 90% or more of the world and puzzles still remaining to be explored and completed.

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    +1 for managing to be sarcastic and still have a valid point.
    – Nigralbus
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 9:27

Generally speaking, this type of content would fall into the "optional content" category. So optional end-game content or optional post-game content make sense.

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