So here's an idea. It's notes, it's rough. I don't care. The basic idea is to reduce pre-roleplay character creation to as little time as possible and transplant 90% of the pre-roleplay character creation into the act of roleplaying. It's totally on-the-fly and quite possibly impossible to play.
First, a starting set of stats which serve as a common basis for all potential characters. The system only allows opposed rolls: no shooting for target numbers. Everything comes down to your guy versus some other guy.
Wits describes your ability to act decisively and correctly in an immediate situation.
Vigor governs all physical... stuff. Running and jumping and fighting and all that. You know what I mean.
Care covers how generally careful and precise you are in the things you do.
Savvy stands in for your general social prowess and standing.
I want to impress the duchess. My Savvy, her Savvy. Nice and straightforward.
Or maybe I wanna bash you in the head. My Vigor versus your Wits, if you're trying to not be bashed. My Vigor and your Vigor if you're going to just take it cause you're that badass.
Some dude tries to poison you. His Care versus your Vigor. You're not doing a thing; you're just sitting there, hoping that your body can shrug off the effects. Cause you're all hard core and shit. Or maybe a weakling. Either way, you still roll Vigor cause that's what's in the way of Mr Poison-Pants offing you.
You want to break into an inventor's lab. Your Wits versus his Care. It's a contest between your cleverness and his preparations. He doesn't even have to physically be there for this to be true, and so the "dice" work out. Hell, he doesn't even have to be alive.
Those are the big-boy stuff, the common-to-all traits that form the backbone of the system. Or, you know, something like them. Different games would require different macro-stats; these are just convenient generic examples. In any case, they are both capability and resistence, and they can presumably handle any kind of conflict that would come up in play. That's the thinking, anyway.
On top of this chassis are added idiosyncratic, player-defined stats. So like, "PhD in Chemistry" or "Sword Ninja" or "l33t haqsor" or whatever. They can be abilities, training, relationships, character details, histories, whatever. They get brought in when they apply -- the poisoner could use the PhD; when I'm bashing you, I could use Sword Ninja; when you're breaking in, your l33t skizillz come into play.
Edit: Apparently the rough-notes thing reared its ugly head. The three examples I gave here are all in terms of skill/ability/training, which sort of implies that all micro-stats would be skill-ish things. On the contrary, "Raging Bitch," "I am God's Representative," and "Scared of Girls" could all be worthwhile micro-stats, too.
Maybe these micro-stats add to the original dice, or add dice, or let you reroll dice, or maybe I'm not using dice at all. Maybe these micro-stats have ratings, maybe they don't. Important point being they modify the macro-stat results.
You create a character by picking a name, concept, splitting some currency between the four initial macro-stats, pick one player-defined micro-stat, and then you start playing. Actually, your concept probably defines the one micro-stat you start with, or even is the micro-stat you start with, so it's even fewer steps. Five minutes if you put hard thought into it; sixty seconds if you're just jumping in with both feet.
Players don't buy macro-stats. They roll a set number of d4s and split them into 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s. The number of dice are the ratings of their four macro-stats. Pick a name and concept/micro-stat and go. Yes, I re-invent randomized stats.
Important point here: most players are not invested in the character at this stage, and that's fine. You're not supposed to be.
Anyway, you start playing, and you gain new micro-stats through play, either via conflict fallout a la Dogs, or by spending some currency in scenes, or by elaborating out from your initial stats, or picking them up as stakes, or whatever. The gist of it: do stuff, get micro-stats.
If at the end of any scene you're not digging on your current character, you cash him out into pure currency and make a new one, spending the currency on the four macro-stats and starting in with one starter micro-stat again. Maybe there's a little compensating rule that affords more screen presence to folks with fewer traits so they can catch up or something, I dunno.
The idea here is that character-creation-prep is lightning-fast, especially if you use the rolling-dice variation. It means you can bring in another character in the space of time it takes the GM to stand up and get a refill of soda. Players aren't invested in these characters at this point; players only become invested with the characters by playing them. How much more will I care about that "Trained by Ninja Monks" trait if I earned it, rather than just bought it? Additionally, all of those microstats on your character sheet are there for a reason, have a backstory, and probably suggest plot developments in the future. They're all attached to the situation in play (or a situation that was in play). And if you don't like the character that develops after a scene or two? Ditch 'em, turns out they were a secondary character, anyway.
Notably, however, this is missing flags and situation-creation. When characters are created so quickly and are so simple, they do not (at first) have the capacity for expressing player interests. And situation should always, in my book, be based off of player interests. So. Still work to be done. And, you know, I need a game to attach the mechanics to...