Do you keep doing sidequests after you finish the main story?

(Image credit: Bethesda)

One of the ways games are different to books or movies is that they end when we stop playing them, whether that's as soon as the credits roll or at the new of new game + or after 100 hours of sidequests done while ignoring the main storyline entirely. Fulfil your own dang prophecy!

Our weekend question is this: Do you keep doing sidequests after you finish the main story? Do you hit uninstall as soon as the world is saved, or do you push on? When a game gives you a save from before the finale have you ever gone back to it and then thoroughly explored the rest of the map for completion's sake? Or does knowing how it ends take all the joy out of going back? Let us know your answers in the comments.

Chris Livingston: Yes

Definitely. When the main quest is done, it's primo sidequest and mess-around time. The Elder Scrolls, the Far Cry series, the GTA series, the Fallout games. The world always feels a little different, somehow, when the main quest is done. There's no pressure, I guess? It's more leisurely, you can pick some minor task you've been wanting to get to but haven't had time. It's like when you have a day off during the week but everyone else is at work. You can get a lot done but there's no real hurry.

(Image credit: Almost Human)

Andy Chalk: No

I play the absolute hell out of most games, so there usually isn't much in the way of sidequests left by the time I've reached the end. Stuff that does get missed usually stays that way: I tell myself that I'll get back to it, and the intent is sincere, but it never happens. I still have Legends of Grimrock 2 installed because there are some untranslated runes (or something like that—it's been a while) I promised myself I'd get to that might unlock a secret passage to some cool treasure or gear. Obviously that's not going to happen, but, you know, it might. It could. Don't judge me.

I will sometimes horse around with mindless post-credits bashing like the Ubercommander assassination missions in Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, but that rarely lasts. Once the stories are over, it's over.

Fallout 3 mod - Metamorphosis

(Image credit: Genin32)

Wes Fenlon: Fallout 3 yes, Witcher 3 no

I can think of a few games where I did keep playing, even after the credits rolled. In Fallout 3, for example, Bethesda patched the original, definitive ending to let you keep exploring the Wasteland, and I did exactly that. I must've scoured that entire map for interesting locations and sidequests I'd missed. But in most games, I take the procrastinator approach: I meander off the main path and do everything in the game I could possibly want to before begrudgingly finishing up the main quest. 

In The Witcher 3 I spent 10 hours towards the end just hunting down the top-tier Wolf School armor, because I wanted to finish the game in some fancy duds. In Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which isn't a PC game, sorry!) I didn't fight the final boss until I'd completed all 120 shrines. I guess I like the ending to be the end of my time with a singleplayer game, in most cases, but I might spend months or even years putting off getting to it.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Phil Savage: Only if it's The Elder Scrolls

I always intend to. I'll make mental checklists of all the collectibles I'll snap up; the map markers I'll reveal; or, in the case of Assassin's Creed Origins, the elephants that I'll fight. But almost always, the minute the credits roll, I'll exit out and never go back. I'm not really sure why, maybe the fact that I'm no longer working towards a definitive ending robs the game of any sense of greater purpose. Maybe there's just too many other games fighting for my attention—why spend longer with one I've already finished?

The main exception is The Elder Scrolls series, probably because their main quests feel so ancillary to the game at large. They've never felt like the thing driving me through that world, so finishing them is no big deal.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Jody Macgregor: Yes, but with a case of alt-itis

I finished The Witcher 3 years ago but keep it installed because sometimes I feel like going on a monster hunt, or riding through the windy forests looking for icons. I'm a terrible one for starting over with new characters though, so I'll make an alt who specializes in spellcasting just to do the Mage's Guild quests in Skyrim or one who's good at science for the Old World Blues DLC in Fallout: New Vegas. Before I know it I'm playing the whole thing again, for like the third time.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.