I know we're going totally off topic here but since we're talking about SO craft and their implications on timeline, continuity, and lore, was Ella expanded from it's prior state or rebuilt? I don't remember what Origin considered the canon choices in WC4, I believe someone who knows their stuff said the novel takes precedence. It's expanded upon in the SO design and I'm not sure if that's supposed to be an improvement, retcon, or new version after Blair flashpak'd the old one.
Well, this is really a bit of a myth. We often talk about the novels taking precedence, because they provide one path through the non-linearities of the games. In fact, though, that relationship between novels and the rest of the canon has always been unstable and inconsistent. While we know of a few situations where Origin requested specific changes to novels in development in order to make sure they are consistent with what they're planning to do in the games, we also know that Origin was quite content to disregard the novels when preparing the WCP map, for example.
that Origin never had an internal, "official" stance on what is and isn't canon in the WC universe. The universe itself was small enough that they didn't really need to concern themselves too much with such details, and simply never had to confront any genuine challenges on this part. The books were always written "on order" from Origin, and so they never encountered a situation where one of the books would create significant changes to the universe, changes that had to be taken into account in the future. Even something like Action Stations, which practically rewrote the start of the war... just plain wasn't ever relevant, because Origin was busy at the other end of the timeline. For similar reasons, nobody ever really would have needed to ask whether the choices made in WC3 and WC4 book adaptations were "canonical" over other alternatives presented in the games, because most of these choices would never have any impact on the rest of the universe. Did it matter how Blair and the rest of the crew got along in WC3? Not in the long run. It's not like the writers of WC4 or WCP would go back and check what possible choices Blair had in WC3, and would then write their script accordingly. New stories had no need to refer back to the old, so the question went unanswered. The only instance where we know Origin cared about keeping the choices made in the novel in line with their own thoughts, was when they requested that Maniac and Vagabond survive the final mission in the novel. But that was actually the only instance where such choices mattered in the first place. You must also keep in mind that the range of possible conflicts was much smaller than might be thought. Of course
Blair didn't flashpak Ella. Of course
Blair didn't replace Tolwyn and seize control of the Black Lance. You know, these were utter no-brainers, because Blair is the hero, and he follows the winning path
. (the only time anyone ever dared to make the non-winning path the canonically correct one, was us - in Standoff. But Standoff wasn't a canonical product; I'm sure if Origin made Standoff, they would have determined that the winning path must be designed as the official outcome)
We know that various Origin staffers over the years have confessed to never reading the novels, and thus never sparing a thought to whether something from the novels could or should be imported. The Landreich was a big elephant-in-the-room - you had this significant political entity that the novel writers just kept on pushing, and then you had Origin continually refusing to take any note of it. They didn't deny the canonicity of the Landreich, they just ignored it (unless you choose to take the WCP map as an outright, in-your-face denial of the canonicity of the Landreich). At the same time, we can clearly see that Origin's internal writing department must have read the novels and been familiar with them, because we get the Hakaga mentioned by name in the Armada manual (albeit with a spelling mistake), and because the KSaga manual contains a press clipping that explicitly refers to some of the events of End Run.
Managing the canon of a universe is not something most game developers in the 1990s had to seriously deal with. It wasn't Star Trek or Star Wars, where you had
to keep things sorted because there was ten or more products in development at any one time, and hundreds of products already available. It just didn't seem to matter. So we never got an official stance on any such details like order of precedence etc.
Ok, that digression aside, as for Ella itself - I'm pretty sure it's identical in SO as in WC4, just a slightly revamped and retextured model.