In the latest newsletter for Elite: Dangerous (#107), Frontier have outlined plans to give contacts and NPCs some specific individuality. This is scheduled to be part of a future 2.1 version update for the game.
With the release of Horizons, there are now two “seasons” of Elite: Dangerous, and while not everything in 2.1 will transfer to those without Horizons, the newsletter does say “as with the 2.0x point releases some of the changes will be applicable to season one owners”.
The long-term plan to allow the Commander Creator to grant special NPCs proper portraits is well on it’s way with the coming update. “The intention is that every mission giver in game (and something similar for the minor factions) will be a specific individual”, the developers say. The intention is to create consistency across mission givers for all players.
The better your relationship with a minor faction, it is said, the higher the authority of the character you’ll be dealing with. Special Faction contacts will also “offer more information about how the minor faction is doing and how you can help them”. There will be “a number of changes to missions” to accommodate this (with specific details to come in later weeks).
Engineers (the Horizon guys who facilitate crafting) will get a similar personality injection in 2.1. Looting and crafting in general will get “developed to a much greater degree in 2.1” too.