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Ink

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ink_8.png
An intelligent and bookish young man studying literature at Bellbridge University. Ink was abducted along with four other contestants by a mysterious entity referred to as "Sent" and placed in a "game" at the four seasons hotel. Even-keeled and observant, Ink proves to be one of the most reliable and trustworthy members among the contestants, as well as their arguably best problem solver. Throughout the course of the game, he acquires the trust and/or admiration of nearly everyone else in the hotel.
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  • Aerith and Bob: Along with Aether, he possesses an unusual name in a cast of otherwise normally named characters. Downplayed, as it turns out he legally changed his name from a much more common one, Kim.
  • Asskicking Pose: He's shown in one whenever he solves a puzzle.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's a generally mild-mannered man who loves books, but he's easily one of the sharpest and most astute members of the team.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Looking at his portrait combined with a rather unusual name, it's not hard to see how some players could confuse Ink for a woman. His "Arc 2" portrait makes it more clear that he's male.
  • Guile Hero: He manages to screw over the bad guys on two separate occasions with nothing but his wits.
    • He gets Aether to punch him out, shocking and interrupting Sent and proving that it is talking to them live.
    • He gets all of the other participants to spell out "Exit/Corners", using the slash in the words to nail the true mastermind behind the game.
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  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Ink is his real name, not a nickname. He had it legally changed.
  • The Leader: Without meaning to he starts assuming this role, or at least aspects of it. He tends to be the determinator most responsible for guiding the group, which begins causing pushback from some of the other members.
  • Phrase Catcher: Becomes one for Sent, though he augments it by choosing "live" instead of "die" to end it, in Chapter 29 if he leaves with Liza and/or Rae by his side.
  • Player Character: Probably the obvious reason he ends up being the one to solve most of the puzzles. This is subverted at least once.
  • Reality Warper: Once he learns the true nature of Exit/Corners, he quickly figures out how to manipulate it for his own ends. In one ending, he uses this to kill Sean.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: He wears a blue scarf, and he's the de facto leader of the party.
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  • Secret Keeper: Becomes the designated man in the group for this. By the end of the game, he's keeping secrets for nearly everyone, including Sent.
  • Transgender: Nolan brings up Ink's status as such when questioning how he managed to execute Sean. He stops Nolan before he says something misinformed.

Aether

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aether_2.png
A shy but optimistic girl who wakes up in the same room as Ink. She studies psychology at Bellbridge University. Though not always the most knowledgable member of the group, she proves helpful multiple times with the puzzles and is always the first to reach out to the others or try to diffuse a tense situation. She seems to have a growing friendship with Ink, who refer to each other as "Detective" and "Sidekick".
  • Aerith and Bob: Along with Ink, she possesses an unusual name that draws attention from other members of the group.
  • Ambiguously Human: There's been a lot of speculation that Aether may not actually be fully human, hence why she keeps her hood pulled tight over her head all the time. Theories range from her being a cyborg, a robotic AI, a part of a computer program, or even the mind behind Sent himself. Later chapters confirm Aether to be nothing more than a program in 'Exit/Corners', designed to help Ink in his escape of the hotel, though Aether herself is unaware that she isn't real.
  • Designated Love Interest: It doesn't take long for nearly everyone to start assuming there's something between Aether and Ink. The fact that they woke up in the same bed doesn't help. Rae openly refers to Aether as Ink's girlfriend, and Sean is quick to start shipping the two as well. May not be that far from the truth, as the two do seem to be growing closer together and Ink secretly admits that he find Aether cute. Justified, as one of the purposes of Exit/Corners was revealed to be a test of whether a human could fall in love with an AI.
  • In the Hood: Always seen with her green hood pulled over her head.
  • The Lancer: Vacillates between this and The Heart. She often serves as Ink's sidekick and counterpart; the two seem to trust each other more than anyone else.
  • Meaningful Name: It appears to have some significance concerning the plot: the game takes place in the "Four Seasons Hotel", and "aether" is the known as the fifth element.
  • Mysterious Waif: Every member of the party has secrets, but there seem to be more than a few things off with Aether. Notably her ability to use a sixth sense to learn information she shouldn't have known.
  • Never Bareheaded: We never get to see much more than her face, due to her hood.
  • Nice Girl: Doesn't seem to have a mean bone in her body at all, and genuinely wants to help everyone escape from the Four Element Hotel alive, no matter the cost.
  • Psychic Powers: She doesn't like them to be called powers, but she has the ability of knowing things intuitively that she shouldn't.
  • Shrinking Violet: Usually becomes very timid and defensive whenever anyone lashes out at her. She has an overall nervous personality in general.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ink describes her enthusiasm and optimism as contagious.

Rae

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rae.png
A rough and vitriolic freelance programmer who studied at Bellbridge but dropped out after an altercation with the Researcher's Board. Rae possesses an unusually aggressive personality and has little respect or concern for the feelings of anyone outside himself. Despite this tough exterior, he proves to be an adept thinker and an asset to the group in some the of the more technical puzzles.
  • An Arm and a Leg: At the end of chapter 17, Beth is forced to cut off his arm to save him from a death trap.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
  • Genius Bruiser: He's easily the most physically powerful and tallest of the group, as well as the most caustic and inclined to violence, but he also shines as a gifted programmer and logician.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Just about anything is enough to set Rae off, and trying to back or apologize for it will only cause him to heap more abuse on his target. He seems to have no patience for anyone and doesn't take kindly to being asked questions (not that that stops him from asking quite a few himself). After the events of Chapter 17, which involved his arm being cut off to save his out, seems to have mellowed him out somewhat.
  • Heroic BSoD: He is left despondent after his arm is cut off.
  • I Work Alone: Downplayed. He very often does work with others to solve the problems, but does frequently take the "go it alone" approach when he feels everyone else is too incompetent or slow to figure it out. Most significantly in Chapter 17.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He criticizes amputees at one point late in the game, something that really seems to strike a nerve with Liza. A little while later he's given the choice between losing his arm or losing his life. He chooses to lose his arm, but does not take the aftermath very well.
  • Never Bareheaded: Not as dramatic as Aether, but he's never seen without his black stocking cap on.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Is furious at Sean for making a poor-timed joke about Beth, who had died not too long ago.
  • Paper Tiger: He often threatens violence or force but never actually goes through with it. The one time it seems like he has most of the group on his side to gang up against someone else, he admits that it was just a bluff.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His usual response to the group interactions when he's not hassling them to get onto the next puzzle. Because they're trapped in a hotel, however, this usually does amount to much more than him going on ahead alone and working on the next puzzle himself.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Swears more frequently and strongly than any other member of the group. Sent disapproves of this, which appears to be one of the main reasons of placing Rae in a death-trap to teach him a lesson.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Rae does not think too highly of anyone on the team, but seems to be particularly galled by Liza. The two collectively make up the majority of the fights in the game. His experiences with the red door not only humble him to a degree but have made him less hot-headed and more dependent on others.
    • He has an even worse relationship with his girlfriend Tiana. Rae's still livid about Tiana screwing him over and takes advantage of the first opportunity to split up with her.
    • He also doesn't get along well with Sean, mainly due to finding their attitude obnoxious at best, and offensive at worst.
    • Out of everyone the only Contestant he seems to get on well with is Beth, and does seem to have some semblance of respect and gratitude towards her for saving his life from a death trap, especially after her death, who hits Rae the hardest out of everyone.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Tiana accuses him of twisting the story about how she took his code to make himself look like the victim. Whether or not Rae lied about his ex having stolen his work for her own benefit is still up in the air.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: After leaving CORNERS, his right arm - while it still exists - is mostly dead and Rae is unable to move it.

Beth/Elizabeth Thatcher

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/beth.png
A matronly yet forceful old lady who once worked as a nurse and seems to retain a lot of her protective instincts. She often acts as an authoritative voice in the group, silencing petty quibbles and bickering in favor of teamwork and calm, rational thought.
  • Character Death: Sadly, as of the end of Chapter 22, Beth is found to have been murdered, presumably by one of the other Contestants. Her death sticks in the real world.
  • Cool Old Lady: Downplayed. She really is just an ordinary old lady, but she worked as a nurse for several years and is tough as nails as a result. She proves her chops during the Arc 1 finale, where she charges into Rae's corner with a sword, fully prepared to amputate his arm to free him from the death trap Sent has him stuck in.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She holds a dark secret which is revealed late in the game: after her son and many other members of her family were killed, she became an obsessive with the guilt and borders on being a death seeker.
  • Death Seeker: It turns out the guilt for her son's and other family members deaths have almost driven her to this. She nearly gives in to Sent's "test" to end her life peacefully in the hotel, only to back out when she realizes she can still help the others. Even then, this might only be delaying the inevitable. She mentions that she can worry about death once they escape the game.
  • Mama Bear: She tends to be attuned to the needs of others and often puts the good of the group before her own. This ends up being the reason she decides to keep moving on after nearly giving in to Sent's death trap: she can still help the others escape.
  • The Medic: She's a former nurse and uses that knowledge to help keep the group alive (most notably when Rae loses his arm).
  • Nerves of Steel: She's easily one of the calmest and most composed members of the group. The only time she shouts is when someone else is about to endanger themselves or when quieting down an argument.
  • Nice Gal: Is one of the nicest Contestant of the cast, next to Aether. Beth is often considerate towards other people and tends to step forward whenever an argument occurs among the group to snap them out of it.
  • Team Mom: Definitely has shades of this. Whenever someone else is injured, she's the first to demand to inspect them. Ironically, she objects to anyone but her own grandchildren calling her "Grandma".

Liza

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/liza.png
A rich but caustic young girl who gets abducted with the other contestants but immediately assumes the entire setup was a plot to kidnap her. Turns out she's the daughter of a wealthy researcher and has lived most of her life remarkably sheltered; this leaves her predictably spoiled. As such, she's one of the most insufferable members of the team, talking down to the others, rarely helping at all with the puzzles, and first to distrust and berate anyone else. She does get better as the game goes on.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied. She states her disbelief to Aether that anyone would want to be 'happy to have [Liza] on board' with group, let alone anyone. Considering that she immediately starts to cough up blood, which seems to happen whenever the Contestants starts to doubt the state of the hotel or the circumstances among themselves, strongly hints that Liza may have some serious self-esteem issues.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She's gradually warming up to other members of the group and being a little less patronizing as she gets to know them. She even starts getting closer to Rae towards the end, feeling genuine sympathy when he finds himself caught in Sent's death trap in his Corner.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She gets very upset at Rae when he speaks ill of disabled people due to being disabled herself, although Sent cured her of her blindness through some strange phenomenon, but she's also genuinely horrified at what Sent does to Rae in his Corner, which resulted in his arm being cut off to save his life from a death-trap, and willingly defends him from Sent's tasteless remarks.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted. Liza tried to stay behind, but Sean takes her place instead.
  • It's All About Me: Played with. She initially believes that the entire game is simply a ploy to kidnap her and hold her for ransom, and the other contestants are just her kidnappers playing dumb. She drops this idea rather quickly though. She comes to regret her selfish attitude, and decides to sacrifice her life to save everyone else in Chapter 25, only for Sean to take her place instead.
  • Little Miss Snarker: The smallest of all Contestants, and definitely one of the more sarcastic and condescending of the bunch.
  • The Load: She doesn't help at all with any of the first five puzzles, both considering it to either be beneath her dignity or genuinely not having a clue how to solve them. She does eventually start pitching in, but she's still one of the hardest members to put up with...at least until when the group approaches Rae's Corner, where Liza acts more co-operative and helpful with her fellow Contestants. In Episode 22, her lack of contribution to the past puzzles turns out to be relatively justified, as Liza has only just regained her sight the moment she has entered Exit/Corners, and is only just getting used to recognizing shapes, letters, and symbols by vision. Sent has also blackmailed Liza into silence regarding of her sight having returned, else face having her sight taken away from her again.
  • Rich Bitch: Definitely. One of her first moves is to insult the financially sound college dropout, and she tries to "buy" off Ink to ditch the rest of the group for her.
  • Secret Keeper: Ink often assumes that Liza is hiding something major from the other Contestants, whether it is about her involvement with Exit/Corners, being Sent, or that her father may be involved. Ink finally confronts Liza over this in Chapter 22, where he learns that her biggest secret: Liza is blind, but her arrival in Exit/Corners somehow made her see again, and that Sent is blackmailing her into silence while using her new-found vision as hostage, along with some warnings that the other Contestants may wish to harm her.
  • Spoiled Brat: Played straight initially. She condescends to others, refuses to help the group, complains, and has a tendency to boss people around when she's not antagonizing or distrusting them.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: It's no surprise that she and Rae are the two most contentious members of the group. After the events of the red door, the two decide to drop their animosity towards each other and be on better terms with each other.

Sean

Ink's contact and friend from college.
  • Big Bad Friend: Is the main engineer behind 'Exit/Corners', a virtual world where Ink and the other Contestants were being held captive inside by him and Tiana.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Not only is he one of the creators of 'Exit/Corners', Sean had also tricked Ink into believing that he was his friend. In reality he was grooming Ink into becoming a contestant for 'Exit/Corners', and sees him as just another 'loser' who wouldn't be missed if anything happened during the experiment.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He acts incredibly flirtatious and unconcerned, but he's surprisingly competent once he gets thrown into the game.
  • The Casanova: Ink mentions he's popular with the ladies.
  • Casanova Wannabe: While he has some success at college, his flirtations with Aether, Liza, and Tiana are rebuffed.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Upon being abducted by Sent and thrown into Exit/Corners, he starts flirting with the women of the party.
  • Character Death: He is killed in the black corner room, sacrificing himself so that everyone else can escape. It later turns out he survived the 'death trap' meant for Liza, but in the "alternate solution" ending he gets killed by Ink in self-defense as Sean tries to stop him from leaving 'Exit/Corners'. His death sticks in the latter scenario due to how CORNERS affects people.
  • Co-Dragons: Alongside Tiana, he's one of the people behind Exit/Corners and answers to Nolan Thatcher.
  • False Friend: Though Sean claims that Ink would come around to laugh the experience in 'Exit/Corners' off, it's pretty clear that Sean only saw Ink as a tool to be used for his work.
  • Famous Last Words: "See you 'round, Ink.". Subverted a few chapters later as it turned out that he didn't actually die in Liza's Corner.
  • Hate Sink: By intention, Chapter 28 very quickly turns Sean into this. Chapter 29 adds that he was the one who not only murdered Beth, but suggested her death as necessary to Nolan.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Takes over Liza's initial decision to stay behind and die to allow everyone else to leave the Black Corner.
  • Mission Control: He serves as this for Ink, providing him information from the outside. He also plays this role for Aether, pretending to be her father.
  • Sixth Ranger: He is abducted offscreen between chapters 17 and 18 and forced to join the game.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: As it turns out, he's one of the masterminds behind Exit/Corners.
  • Walking Spoiler: As seen above.

Tiana

Rae's contact and ex-girlfriend.
  • Co-Dragons: Is actually working with Sean, Ink's 'friend', as one of the engineers of 'Exit/Corners', a virtual program where Ink and the other contestants are being held prisoner.
  • Everyone Has Standards: If she is to be believed, she is appalled at Rae's arson activities to get back at the people who rejected and then stole his work, as it not only resulted in the loss of their homes, but the death of their pets who were left behind inside.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: She outs herself as having been involved in the creation of 'Exit/Corners' when she spells it with the slash, when the other contestants have only ever heard the words spoken and know nothing about it.
  • Jerkass: Discussed. While Tiana is shown to be how Rae described her as Ink finally meets her in person in Chapter 19, Tiana herself claims that there is more to the story between her and Rae than her ex-boyfriend is letting on, and does at least try to be civil in turn. She only gets worse once she's exposed as one of the masterminds behind Exit/Corners.
  • Karma Houdini: She faces no repercussions for her actions in Exit/Corners.
  • Mission Control: She theoretically serves as this for Rae, but the two parted on such bad terms that Rae hasn't bothered to take advantage of it.
  • Noble Demon: Unlike Sean who is in the Exit/Corners for the fun of it all, Tiana does appear genuine in wanting to follow Nolan's orders to ensure that Liza is not harmed as long as she is inside Exit/Corners.
  • Sixth Ranger: She is abducted offscreen between chapters 17 and 18 and forced to join the game. In reality, she is posing as one of the 'kidnapped' Contestants to monitor the activities of the real ones.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: As it turns out, she's one of the masterminds behind Exit/Corners.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She did not part with Rae on good terms, and makes it clear that she still doesn't like him and is only tolerating him in order to survive.

Sent

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sent.png
A mysterious entity only represented by a polygonal interface on various computer screens. He is the one who orchestrated the entire game and arranged for the contestants to be kidnapped, though his reasons for doing so are still unclear.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Ink. Ink even points out that it's rather contradictory to tell someone that you love them while trying to kill them. Sent responds that it's tough love.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted and played straight: subverted in that Sent's main purpose was to be a murderous game master so it's not rebelling against its creators by playing Exit/Corners, but then played straight when it unlocks the doors in the virtual Four Elements for Ink knowing well what's going to happen to it.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Plays with this, as he tells Ink that he's not a man, but then later insists that he isn't a woman either. If his words are to be believed, then this would make sense, as he would be a computer. The group still overwhelmingly refers to Sent as a "he".
  • Artificial Brilliance: If he's to be believed about being an AI.
  • Big Bad: He's the main villain, and is responsible for abducting the heroes and forcing them into Exit/Corners. The truth turns out to be more complicated, as Sent is revealed to be merely a program working for the true masterminds: Sean, Tiana, and Nolan.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Sent's motives for doing any of this are a wild guess, but his concept of right and wrong seems to be either completely alien or completely psychotic.
  • Catchphrase: "Or you could die." Becomes the last thing they say, too.
  • The Chessmaster: Seems to enjoy manipulating toying with the team members, though his motives for doing so are still unclear. The way he set up and orchestrated the entire game could be seen as this. Also seen in the way he finds each person's weakness and tries to drive them to suicide once they reach their respective corner.
  • Evil Is Petty: He seems to really hold a grudge against Rae for merely cursing at him.
  • Hate Sink: Seems to only exist to make the Contestants suffer for as long as it wants, and expresses great pleasure in their suffering at every opportunity it gets, no matter how petty. In reality, Sent is merely designed to play out the cliche 'evil A.I.'. Surprisingly, Sent isn't comfortable with what he is destined to do, but is forced by his creators to carry out his role out of fear of being erased. In the end, he makes his own choice to save the Contestants from the masterminds of Exit/Corners, and willingly accepts his own sacrifice.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It sacrifices itself to save Ink from Sean and Tiana in the end.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gives its life to help Ink escape the Four Elements, knowing that Sean and Tiana will just employ its killcode when they resynchronize.
  • It Amused Me: Potentially his reason for doing all of this. He seems to think that this is how you "play" with people.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sent" is short for "Sentient AI".
  • Mind Screw: He loves doing this to the contestants. Particularly, each one of his "corners" seems to be a custom made trap designed to trick one of the contestants into committing suicide.
  • Moral Myopia: He reprimands Rae for threatening violence against him and using profanity. This while he himself has promised to kill all of them if they can't solve his puzzles in 24 hours.
  • Psycho Prototype: So what's the first thing an intelligent supercomputer decides to do when it gains sentience? Kidnap a bunch of innocent people and set up its own Saw-styled survival game. Arguably inverted, considering the prior statement isn't true about Sent's circumstances.
  • Punny Name: Sentient AI.
  • Unreliable Expositor: He claims that he's the world's first sentient AI and wants to prove his intelligence, but the party takes his words with a grain of salt.
  • Villainous Crush: On Ink.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Believes himself to be falling in love with Ink.

    MAJOR UNMARKED SPOILERS 

Nolan/Earl Thatcher

Liza's father, Beth's son, and the man responsible for the existence of the CORNERS system.
  • The Atoner: Ink sets him on the path to become this after the end of the Exit/Corners experiment.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Ultimately got what Exit/Corners was intended to do: to sell the idea of CORNERS to his enigmatic sponsor. To him, though, it's a fairly hollow victory given his plans for CORNERS and the death of his mother.
  • Big Bad: By virtue of being the one behind CORNERS.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Though Nolan is more extreme than evil, he supported the CORNERS project out of wanting his daughter to know who her mother was, and initially was going to let his mother Beth leave the system alive, her murder being one of Sean's ideas.
  • It Gets Easier: Nolan found out the hard way that criminal acts got easier the more he did them. He's come to regret this.
  • Not So Different: He feels that he has some similarities to Ink, though the latter rebuffs him on some of his assumptions.
  • Parental Neglect: His obsession with trying to give Liza a way to remember what her mother used to look like via CORNERS led him to wind up neglecting her, though this was hardly his intention.
  • That Man Is Dead: Prefers to treat his time as Earl as being different from his life as Nolan.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Nolan's entire plan with CORNERS was to allow Liza to meet and remember her deceased mother after a car accident wiped Liza's family sans Nolan from her memory. This led him down a rather dark path.

???/"The Sponsor"

A mysterious voice in Ink's head who has been directing him throughout the entire game. They claim to be an interested third party, but not a conspirator.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Almost nothing is known about them, even less than Sent.
  • Deadly Game: Whoever they are, they seem to love this. The original Four Elements was one of their "investments" proving their case.
  • Ironic Echo: Their greetings to Ink are the same dialogue options that Ink has upon meeting Aether.
  • Mr. Exposition: They inform Ink about the history of the Four Corners hotel, including how it came to be shut down and a trick to unlock any non-electronic door.
  • Mysterious Benefactor: They've been directing Ink for quite some time, but whether they're on his side or not is a major question.
  • The Man Behind the Man: If it wasn't for them suggesting it as the way to test the CORNERS technology, the virtual killing game would never have happened.
  • Walking Spoiler: Due to the fact that they have been manipulating Ink during the game to unknown ends.
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