Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX CEO posted a picture on Twitter of the table beside his bed. The strange scene included a bottle of water, four opened caffeine-free diet coke cans, a Revolutionary war-era pistol in a box emblazoned with the famous Emanuel Leutze painting, and what appears to be a Diamond Back .357 handgun. This last object is not a real weapon, but a replica of a gun from the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
First released in 2000, the Deus Ex video game franchise tells the story of a powerful global conspiracy involving mega corporations and the literal Illuminati. The third game in the franchise is called Deus Ex: Human Revolution and involves protagonist Adam Jensen undergoing radical surgery against his will to become a cyborg. The Diamond Back .357 is one of Jensen's.
We first see it in the game's prologue when he pulls it out to stop an assault on the office where he works. The bad guys beat the shit out of him and then use the Diamond Back to finish the job. But Jensen pulls through and can acquire the revolver at the start of the game’s first official mission.
The Diamond Back is not quite iconic, but no gun from the Deus Ex franchise is. It’s not the same as owning Deckard’s Blaster from Blade Runner or Han Solo’s DL-44. There are a few Etsy stores creating replicas, but not many. Jensen used a similar style of revolver in the sequel, Mankind Divided, and most of the promotional material features Jensen wielding arm-blades. When he is pictured holding a gun, it’s typically an automatic pistol. Team Fortress 2 did run a cross promotion with Deus Ex that gave out the Diamond Back as a weapon skin, but that’s about as far outside of its own universe the faux-revolver went.
Musk is a gamer who has talked about his love for Deus Ex before and it’s certainly possible that he loved the gun in the game and decided to have one made. In 2020, Musk changed his Twitter avatar to the cover of the original game and tweeted about freeing America from COVID restrictions. The cylinder appears to popped out of the gun at a slight angle and it’s possible the toy gun is broken from repeated use or misuse.
It’s an odd object to be on the bedside stand of the richest man in the world, nestled next to a mountain of joyless golden Coca-Cola cans. The main villain of the Deus Ex franchise is Bob Page, a wealthy tech billionaire who helps the Illuminati control people and wants to merge with an AI.
Deus Ex is a franchise about the dangers of technology. It describes a world where corporations have become so powerful that they have reshaped humanity itself. People rely on augmented limbs and bio-implants to work and corporations have the ability to directly control people through those implants. Page is the worst villain, a man whose only goal is his own immortality. A man who is willing to sacrifice the lives of billions to achieve his goals.
While Musk tweets pictures of his toy guns, his empire is taking hits. Advertisers and employees have fled Twitter in droves and Tesla’s stock is shakey. Former and current employees are making fun of him online. Meanwhile, he’s busy replying to long threads from an anonymous Twitter personality called “Catturd.”