I wrote about a character creation process for D&D 5th edition that I adapted from the Fate Core System. Essentially, this was a "story-first" approach where each character creates their own background and first adventure, and then each other character assigns themselves a role in two of the other character's adventurers, immediately creating a sense of connection and camaraderie among the party.
So I went through this process with a group of my college buddies, none of whom have ever played Dungeons and Dragons before (although they are all very familiar with the fantasy genre in general). Between the creative free-writing assignments for their backstory, first adventure, and secondary role in two other adventurers, as well as the actual process of rolling up the stats for the characters, it took us almost four hours, which is a long time for a session dedicated to character creation. But as my design document states, this is a highly collaborative form of group storytelling, and it should come as no surprise that it took us a whole play session to complete.
We ended up with four separate backgrounds (one for each character), plus three tales that were the result of their collaborative storytelling. If you're interested in seeing the results, feel free to check them out here. But overall I was very happy with the process. I've got several great threads that tie the characters together, the potential for some very interesting interactions between the players, and several hooks that will tie into the story that my players are already telling. While it's a lengthy process, it's one that I highly recommend you try. If you're interested, you can download my detailed description of the process here.
This group will be meeting next Friday night, so in a few weeks I'll be sure and recount the highlights of this experience. I'm certainly looking forward to it!