It began with the discovery of an alien crash site, followed by some alien ruins and artifacts, and then a truly shocking and exciting experience: the first sighting of an alien spacecraft, and then a second alien encounter a few months later. So far, these encounters with the mysterious Thargoids have been static, with players unable to do anything but watch. This year, that will change.
Update 2.4 for Elite Dangerous will pit humans against the Thargoids, and players will be able to do more than simply sit staring in awe from their cockpit seats. From the press release:
"Elite Dangerous: Horizons 2.4—The Return continues the Horizons season with ongoing story events that will see pilots thrust into battle against the Thargoids for the first time in gaming’s modern age. More will be revealed in coming months about this terrifying alien menace as humanity’s relationship with the Thargoids evolves throughout Elite Dangerous 2.3 and 2.4, bringing a new dynamic to the Elite Dangerous galaxy. Players will be forced to develop new tactics and technologies of their own, or see humanity’s grip on our sectors of the galaxy recede."
There's no solid date yet for the update, but the press release says The Return will arriving in Quarter 3 of 2017. Below, you watch Frontier Developments CEO David Braben talk more about the Thargoids, their technology, and their alien culture.