You get to make your character only. Every other character must be found and convinced to join your group, though it will be practically impossible to find and join up with every ally character in the game in one playthrough.
You will be able to choose your gender, skin tone, and cosmetic details.
Currently, age does not make a difference in reactivity. Your character is presumed to be old enough to be taken seriously as a leader and young enough to be able to handle the physical demands asked of them. People will respond to your gender, skills, and previous decisions you may have made, but age just wasn't a priority.
If you don't want to go through character creation, there will be a few pre-generated characters to pick from.
If they have time, they'll have a personality test (like in Bloodlines) to help aid the player in picking skills.
All perks are earned through leveling up skills. There is a choice of perks at some points, levels 3,6,10, during the skill-leveling process.
If you want perks during character creation - load a skill with starter points until you get to choose a perk.
You will start with enough skill points to get basic proficiency in two or three skills and move around points in starting stats to enhance the skills you're tagging.
Stats represent a character’s physical ability/limitations, and are used in conjunction with skills to determine combat effectiveness.
Skills are applied knowledge and stats are physical capability. It is easier to raise skills than stats.
Strength – Physical strength. Determines carry weight and contributes to melee damage.
Agility – How physically quick a character is. Determines amount of Action Points and combat evasion.
Vigor – Health of the player. Determines HP.
Perception – Mental alertness and keen sight. Used to determine initiative and chance to hit distant targets.
Melee – Proficiency with melee weapons/close combat.
Ranged – Proficiency with firearms/ranged weapons.
Leadership - The ability to inspire and intimidate people. Used in dialogue and increases effectiveness of allies in combat.
Negotiation – The ability to manipulate and reason with people. Used in dialogue and helps reduce Morale penalties.
Medical – Knowledge of medicine/treatment of wounds. Skilled characters can heal more HP per character and use fewer healing items to do so.
Science – Knowledge and application of scientific principles. Allows the player to craft new items, equipment, and upgrades.
Survival – Training in wilderness/military survival. It allows players to travel quicker on the Area Map, avoid random encounters, survey greater distances, and harvest wild sources of food.
Mechanical – Mechanical aptitude. Governs ability to pick locks, upgrade the Shelter, modify weapons, and ability to strip more parts from objects.