Bethesda celebrated 4th of July Independence Day with a nice message from Liberty Prime, the patriotic destroyer of worlds that advocates for democracy. The only problem is that it's hard to tell if the post was made in good fun or genuine intent thanks to the many layers of satire both Fallout and Liberty Prime are steeped in.
The questions began almost immediately when Bethesda posted a picture of Liberty Prime, a giant robot/U.S. army weapon from the Fallout games, for 4th of July. Bethesda even tweeted the words "Democracy will never be defeated," something Liberty Prime says in-game.
In Fallout 3 and 4 Liberty Prime is a jingoistic weapon of mass destruction built by the United States during the fictional Sino-American war against the Communist Chinese. Alongside an impressive artillery Liberty Prime spouts patriotic slogan while committing war acts like, "Democracy is truth. Communism is death."
The problem is that like other aspects of Fallout, Liberty Prime is a satire of the United States, or at least it's supposed to be. It's hard to look at this post seriously without questioning whether or not it's supposed to be taken with the same irony the franchise is known for, or if this message is meant to be taken at face value which comes with its own problems.
there's literally 0 democracy in the capital wasteland https://t.co/4vRh3s37vc— temporarily embarrassed (@aSpaceCadette) July 5, 2018
Liberty Prime was repaired and operated by technophilic militant fascists who recovered the parts from a USA that annexed Canada to preserve itself but y’know... 4th of July! https://t.co/9mSfPFL8gI— Elliott Sowden (@OdysseyTwelve) July 5, 2018
I know we all enjoy a good Bethesda dunk butThis is ironic right? Like the joke is that democracy and America failed in Falloutright https://t.co/wCybGjn8mR— The One True Poster (@OneTruePoster) July 5, 2018
Is this what the Europeans call "an own goal"? https://t.co/c4syNnHbFI— Riley Constantine (@biologicalriley) July 5, 2018
The decision to invoke Liberty Prime for a 4th of July post sends a very mixed-message which can be read several ways depending on whether you read into Liberty Prime's political satire. And Twitter is divided on whether Bethesda is invoking this parody or lost the thread on its own post-apocalyptic games.
IT WAS THAT'S THE ENTIRE POINT OF FALLOUT https://t.co/CJLquAc2uw— Wrought (@Wroughtornot) July 5, 2018
People are taking this at face value but Idunno, I think it's kinda aware. https://t.co/Z0jdy0ocpW— A Very Queer & Trans Deer (@MnemonicLight) July 5, 2018
In context this is a pretty great own on America https://t.co/wW6rnxtUlt— Parker Dew (@adequatemale) July 5, 2018
welp, there's a lot going on here https://t.co/kK2jz2T4S2— Multural Carxist (@Marxism_Wokeism) July 5, 2018
So, has Bethesda misread its own political satire? Or is this the result of a viral message gone wrong with Bethesda forgoing subtext for an easy way to wish people a happy 4th of July? It's hard to say, but unraveling the irony is going to take some time to figure out. Also, choosing to wish followers a happy holiday using a failed weapon of mass destruction probably wasn't the best idea to begin with.
Bethesda's next Fallout game is Fallout 76, a multiplayer Fallout game set in post-apocalyptic West Virginia. Whether or not Fallout 76 will lend itself to a better July 4th message remains to be seen. In the meantime you can read our Fallout 76 guide for info on its release date, multiplayer, and more.