-What Prometheus reveals is that this was an Old School campaign from day one:
the dungeon persists (as does the GMing style) but the players change.
-Technically LV-426 (the planet in the original Alien and in Aliens) isn't the same as LV-223 (the planet in Prometheus) but, really, they easily could've been. What Alien and Prometheus really seem like is two groups run through exactly the same module:
The one in Alien goes in, splits the party, someone stumbles into the horrible egg room, then comes back to the ship and is like fuck this and the GM then turns the vessel they arrived at the dungeon in into a dungeon by releasing the monster into it. (Any dense system of structures--ship or city--built on the scale of the PCs turns into a dungeon as soon as a monster appears in it.)
The Prometheus crew goes into the same dungeon, stumbles on a whole different set of stuff, then has to stick around because the party is, on balance, more greedy than scared.
-Most Alien movies start with this very horrory structural assumption: Start with a goal...No wait just leave. Anyone assuming there is anything to gain from the situation either dies quickly or is evil. Except the last scientist at the end of Prometheus.
-Perhaps the Prometheus crew is playing it as D&D, the Nostromo crew is playing Call of Cthulhu. Still: same module.
-Something is highlighted here. Something everyone knows: horror requires less monsters. Fear is the content, not widgets and strategies.
-Something else is highlighted here: the high-lethality style of play we usually agree to call Old School exists in the center of a continuum with horror on the left and adventure on the right. The Old School crawl is generally more horrory (aesthetically, structurally) than the epic form of D&D. It's details and inventions are the details and inventions of desperate people. The gonzo part is less horrory, but the scary probably-die part is more horrory. Anybody who thinks you can't get horror out of a PC you just made up and who you have pre-accepted might die by the end of a session hasn't played Cthulhu.
-Another fact about horror: on the tactical level, ingenious set ups and tricks aren't that important. Just the monster and its overwhelming scariness makes every detail of the situation suddenly come into focus. The scarier the monster is, the fewer actual detail and moving parts you need to make the scene work. Call of Cthulhu's GM advice actually says something like "Range? Maps? Screw that noise" (and it is, in my experience, right). Me I like a little of both, or at least room to have an encounter slide totally into panic or totally into tactics.
-So here is Prometheus in this semi-horror space--it's not unfamiliar. Structurally, Prometheus bears a striking resemblance to Jeff Rients Wessex/Caves of Myrddin/Dungeons of Dundagel/Surfeit of Lampreys campaign. Let me count the ways...
1-Megadungeon that persists but different, sometimes non-overlapping, parties go in (plus it's reused in Alien and in Aliens)
2-Drama inside and out of the dungeon
3-Outside the dungeon, people have sex and drink
4-People who go into the dungeon sometimes show up undead
5-Healing is available outside the dungeon
6-Some delves are "undone" by PC action (in Wessex, a bad delve was wished out of existence, in Alien and Prometheus, the planet is forgotten and re-discovered by a new party)
7-Warning messages on the walls
9-Helpful, self-sacrificing nonhumans (Bishop the android and Gleichman the dog)
10-Information and maps are exchanged between different parties of delvers
11-Evidence of previous expeditions inside
12-Different people have different motivations for going in
13-Deadly liquids splash about
14-Carousing goes horribly awry
15-Religion persists in the face of appalling blasphemies
16-Vertical and horizontal mapping
17-Semi-horror aesthetic structure: A wandering monster just showing up (with no more set-piece complexity) often pretty much is enough to make a memorable scene due to the low power levels involved.
18-Woefully outgunned PCs
-The whole Alien saga is also just a really good example of how you can start with a dungeon crawl and a few background elements and get a whole campaign, in-and-out of the dungeon, out of it. Wait, ok, what if that corporation kept going? Wait, where did the aliens come from? Wait, what about the dog?
-The Aliens comics (Good ones exist: Salvation by Mignola and Labyrinth by Killian Plunkett) develop the idea of an alien-worshipping cult. However, they do kinda fall down on the world-building front by making all about the same aliens again. Aliens vs. Predator, Blade Runner (meanwhile, back on Earth... Ridley Scott said that actually) and Prometheus do a better job on that score. Basically, start with androids and Aliens and go: what monsters are implied by this monster?
-Both Alien and Prometheus feature the concept of competing dungeons--two complexes (ship and planetside), both of which are sites of action and badness. One is a pure dungeon (totally unknown) the other is a domestic-place-as-dungeon. The second kind of place is interesting because, unlike the pure dungeon--which is easy to fill with and justify deathtraps, the domestic-place-as-dungeon has to repurpose relatively mundane, functional toys as tricks and traps. The Prometheus' operating table is a prime example, as is the Nostromo's radar system and self-detruct system.
-The ordinary-stuff-as-dungeon-toy thing is a big deal in zombie games and superhero games. These things tend to have endless supplements on building and subways and things released in the hope that somehow the right toy will come up in your game. In truth, it is a lot easier to write a scene where the dumbwaiter is important into a movie than into a game. Something like the random techroom generator does me pretty well in most sci-fi games and seems to be the best option unless you want to give the PCs a "tour" of the place's toys before the game starts. Basically the same approach as in the city kit: there should be stuff you can use, but not like a pure dungeon where the whole point is stuff you can use or that can kill you pretty much everywhere.
-Anyway: competing dungeons. What a bitch that must be to run, amIright?This brings up the question of motivation. In Alien and Prometheus the androids are basically the ones who want the gold. Everybody else is kinda just a dubious low-level. They'd much rather be on the ship because, tactically, they know they're gonna have to fight a monster and it's better to do that in their "home" dungeon.