Frontier Developments have great plans for their alien encounters and presence in Elite: Dangerous. The alien Thargoid species will be further detailed in The Return 2.4 update coming during Q3 of 2017. Elite will also be arriving on PlayStation 4 prior to the update.
Fiction has a very stale approach to designing alien species. Usually it's the Star Trek way of making them some extreme variant of an already familiar human culture, with some forehead make up and other relatively superficial twists on the familiar. Elite: Dangerous wants to make their alien species, the Thargoids, truly alien and make sure that their culture and very existence always remains slightly unfathomable within a human frame of reference.
The Thargoids were first encountered in Elite: Dangerous earlier this year, and little bits about them have been dropped here and there on various planets. Now, things are a lot more official, and the alien race will feature heavily in the upcoming The Return 2.4 update, scheduled to arrive sometime in Q3 2017.
"Story events have hinted at the Thargoids’ return for a long time, but the Thargoids are returning at a moment when humanity is at its most divided. The Federation and Empire are at each other’s throats, a second tiny human-occupied bubble has scattered humanity’s greatest pilots, and Thargoid scout ships are drawing near. They have already probed our space, infiltrated our starports and found humanity to be vulnerable. What happens next will be decided by every Elite Dangerous player", explained Elite co-creator and Frontier CeO, David Braben.
The Thargoinds will be expanded upon piece by piece, and developments will be heavily influenced by how players themselves decide to treat the aliens.
Elite: Dangerous was also confirmed to be coming to PlayStation 4 back in December, but now we know the exact release date to be 27 June 2017. PlayStation 4 newcomers to the game might tip the unfolding events in one direction or the other, depending on how trigger happy they are when encountering the aliens.