I apologize guys for my part in any confusion this has brought. They'll put me and/or Linear_Core back on Diplomacy as soon as we're done with our critical tasks.
As Hasium said, I'm implementing our new "optimized NPC" assets. Basically, Art has created some ultra-efficient attachments for our NPCs that greatly decreases the number of render passes your video card takes when it draws the NPCs. In some cases we're talking going from 25+ passes to like, 6. It's sweet spawning a bunch of these and watching my framerate stay steady.
My job is to select and apply these assets to our existing NPCs across Telon. You'll see some clothing changes here and there, though "special" NPCs will still look special.