"For VKES, yes I do have to apologize for the character's sex/race customization. Apparently the setting I mentioned was the earlier build and the new one has been changed.
So here we go...
First off in VKES there are 2 episodes. As RPGamer mentioned, you are set to play as human male at the beginning since the story revolves heavily around him. You will be able to customize his appearance and battle cry voices as well as job class. During the first episode you can choose to marry a human, elf, dwarf, or Halfling.
The second episode is about your kid from the first episode so depending on who you married you will be a human or a half human. Here you will be able to select your gender as well.
For the mercenaries, you cannot create them from scratch like you did in VK1 and VK2. during your adventure you will run into these mercs and once you meet them they will be at the guild for you to hire. You are able to customize their stats and weapons/armors but cannot change their race or gender."
Now that that's cleared up, it's looking as if the more story-focused aspect of the game should appeal to those players who thought the PSP versions were a bit too sporadic in their storytelling elements.