The character (called 'Toobie' for working title purposes) would be fully customisable in every regard, from colours and styles to body-shape and accessories. I made the 3D maquette in Blender.
The backpack would be a permanent (still customisable) feature and would be an animated character itself - its facial expression constantly changing in response to the player's actions and environment, reflecting the emotional experience of the player, as much as the character.
The 'orb' would serve many purposes: a key primary storytelling device; a first-person user-interface to access the tools and maps needed to navigate the world, and; a way to access player information such as game progress, character styles and online 'friend' activity.
Basic game mechanics example