Why should the game master be the only one to create non-player characters? We've all heard of, or experienced, the cliche of the game master making boring set pieces, or controlling the game too much, or simply getting confused talking to them self.
Let the players make some extra characters, preferably ones they have some interest in. It makes the world a bit more vibrant when other minds contribute. The GM has some less work to do in pre-game preparation, and the player's have a new focus at the beginning of the session. Players are going to recall names they assigned themselves better than the GM's personal dossier file. Furthermore, this allows everyone to have a hand in filling out the world, becoming connected to it, and discussion of what type of people are needed to move the game along. Wouldn't it be nice if characters are motivated by actual friendship or loyalty, rather than just some stranger in a bar demanding they kill creatures for gold?
Even more interestingly, these characters might be related to or other important in the lives of the players. This gives new story hooks, or a potential replacement for a dead character.