Ending the game

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While RimWorld can be played for several hours or indefinitely, the game can come to an end in a few different ways, two of which ends your current game permanently.

For endgame tips, see Advanced Endgame Guide - Ending the game.

Temporary Ending

 Everyone is dead or gone. This story is over. Perhaps someone else will find a use for the ruins of this place.  - Popup text when there are no controllable colonist left in all visible map.

These endings will not end the game permanently, but instead can go on even when there are no colonist left to control if you chose 'Keep Playing' instead of exiting to main menu. Anytime if the 'wanderer joins' or 'refugee chased' events trigger, you can resume playing.

Colony End

If and when the final colonist is lost (dead, kidnapped or left the planet), the game will present a message that everyone is dead or gone. If you continue playing, there is very little to do, but time continues to pass and events still trigger.

Ship Launch

 You've launched the ship! 
 Your AI will now try to guide the ship to a safe place. It might find a prosperous planet for you in this system, Or, it may undertake a centuries-long journey to another star. It might even decide to hide under ice on an asteroid for a few thousand years, waiting for someone to build a new glitterworld there. You'll find out when you wake up. - Endgame text for Ship Launch on new ship or from Journey Offer.

If a spaceship is constructed you can load some or all of the colonists into the ship cryptosleep caskets to depart the planet.

To launch the ship, select the ship computer core and click the 'Launch ship' button. Starting up the ship takes 15 days, during which your colony will be attacked frequently. Any colonists not on the ship will be left behind. Once you confirm the launch, you hear the roar of rocket engines as the screen fades to white. The credits roll as the ending theme song plays. The credits will list colonists who died to commemorate them.

Journey Offer

After a short time the game will present a message that a friendly AI has offered you passage on his spaceship. The location is marked on the world map by a purple flag (or circle when zoomed in) and will be a considerable distance away. You can send colonists there by caravan or land in by transport pod, but the long journey will take many legs.

Launching the friendly ship is much the same as launching a colony ship.

To launch the ship, select the group of colonists at the journey destination and click the 'Take off' button. Any colonists not with the ship will be left behind. Once you confirm the launch, you hear the roar of rocket engines as the screen fades to white. The credits roll as the ending theme song plays.

Leave with the Stellarch (Royalty DLC)

 You've escaped on the Imperial shuttle! 
 The high stellarch will now welcome you into the Imperial flotilla as an honored noble party. You might stay in the Imperial court and jockey for political power. Perhaps you'll avoid the drama and focus on enjoying ultratech luxuries. Or, you might even buy a ship and set a course for your long-lost home. The choice is up to you. - Endgame text after the shuttle containing the Stellarch departs with at least one colonist from the colony inside.

An alternative game ending with the DLC "Royalty", it gives you the quest "Royal Ascent" in which you must have the Stellarch himself visit your colony together with 4 of his personal guards and you must house them for 12 days. You need to have a Count or Countess as well as having enough throne & Bedrooms for your nobility that meets their standards as well as an extra for the Stellarch himself. While the Stellarch is visiting you must keep him safe from harm and keep his mood above 25%.

Permanent Ending

These endings will end the game permanently. You can still continue from your last saves if you had saved one.

Planetkiller

 At near-lightspeed, the planetkiller weapon slammed into the ground with the force of a trillion hydrogen bombs. Like a water balloon shot with a rifle, this world liquified under the impact and sprayed its molten guts across the cosmos. Part of AI Tania is now a small asteroid belt. The rest is a molten, radioactive hellscape, constantly rippling with kilometers-high planetquakes. You did not survive. - Popup text after the planetkiller weapon drops into the planet.

If "Planetkiller" is enabled at the scenario, there is a warning timer at the bottom right. Once the timer hits, the entire map will fade to white with the weapon obliterating the rimworld planet, and a message will be shown on your screen to state you didn't survive the impact, only allowing you to return to main menu as it permanently ends your game, regardless whether or not your colonist has escaped.

Awaking the Archonexus (Ideology DLC)

 You've invoked the archonexus core. The world fills with a blinding light and time seems to slow...
 The machine god has noticed you. Nobody can predict what happens next. It may destroy you, or communicate with you directly, or transport your consciousness to another plane of reality. You sense a vast, inhuman structure of infinite fractal complexity flowing into your mind. Time and scale begin to dissolve. Its terrifying. Its beautiful... - Endgame text after invoking the Archonexus core.

An alternative game ending with the DLC "Ideology", it gives you the progressive quest "The archonexus", which requires you to sacrifice your $350k+ worth of colony and currently allied with said faction for an archo nexus map part. Everything will be gone and shifted to another colony in a new planet, but you can bring up to 5 colonist, 5 animals and 2 relics with you. Upon creation of a new colony, you will need to get a colonist to decipler at one of the nearest archotech structure before you can continue on with the quest.

After the third map fragment is obtained, the location to the archo nexus will be found. While it is guarded by mechanoids, they can be dispatched off quickly and all colonist can be sent over to activate the archo nexus. The game will end permanently upon activation of the nexus, and after exiting the credits screen, you will be greeted back to the main menu.

Oddly, the starting endgame text and how the colonist "escapes" is different from the other 2 ending.