With the concept of cinematic play and players taking on multiple roles, one thing that came up early on was speed of character generation. We wanted players to be able to jump right into the action. For this reason, generation took a dramatically different path than we expected. When developing the player Network, character concepts are discussed along with motivations, their background culture and conspiracies.
In the first part of character generation players assign values to characteristics associated with these background elements. If you wanted to, game play can begin here. While the character may be incomplete, we know enough about them to get into the action and can fill in the blanks later. Some players and GMs may find it easier to have a stronger feel for what the final character will look like, though.
To complete character generation, players may either pick 5 Skills and 7 Boons to round out the character, or select an Archetype and/or Package which are preset lists of skills and boons around a general theme. Designed to allow for fast play, they narrow down selections to abilities that fit with a theme. For example if someone were making a bodyguard, they might select the following Archetype and Package:
History 2, Strength 4, Dexterity 7, Constitution 5, Sense 9
Fortune 1, Wisdom 6, Intelligence 8, Mental 10, Expression 3
Skills: Career: Bodyguard 7, Perception 5, Firearms 5, Etiquette 5, Martial Arts 3, Lift 3
Better Gear x2
This Archetype and Package provides the outline for a very physically adept character with a strong situational awareness and keen intellect. Of course, these natural abilities have been augmented by some serious Geneginering, making the Bodyguard amazingly capable even unarmed. The Package also allows for specialized training to prevent others from being hurt with the Intervene boon, and improved starting Gear.
Of course, Archetypes and Packages are just guidelines. A player may not want to have been generically modified or would like to emphasize more training with their gun or martial arts. There is no restriction in swapping out Skills or Boons to customize the character how you want them. Instead, it serves as a fast and easy guideline so that players can jump right into the action.