If Ridley was allowed to decide every detail of the script, Paradise would have followed Prometheus. But of didn't. From that we can infer that some of these changes were to please people above Ridley. He stated more than once that he knew what he wanted to do and was waiting for the go ahead. He didn't get it until nearly twenty drafts and several writers came and went, as well as a very meaningful title change. Nah, these can't be called authentic creative decisions unless we can eliminate those influences, and those influences are strongly apparent.
I don't think this is on the studio. I think Ridley is a much more creatively fickle - and yet also professionally practical - personality than that. As I've said before, he's a very shrewd businessman who has come back from flops many times and retained major esteem in Hollywood. Prometheus
did well enough but still underperformed. I don't think he or Lindelof or anyone had a very clear idea where the story would exactly go next with David and Shaw, and I think both he and the studio were concerned about the Alien
brand and about maximizing the audience and profit the next time around. So he made a smart business decision.
I think the call to re-brand the film directly with Alien
and with the overt connection to the creature, the mythos and the original film was him. I think he is fascinated with the David character and with Fassbender and wanted to continue that character's story, but everything else was about renewing his personal and franchise brand in the strongest way possible - and making a very scary Alien
film does that. I think it's a very shrewd if less original or creative choice, and I think it will pay off in box office. I think casually dumping it all, going back on his own words about the future of the franchise and instead trying to make the best whiz-bang Alien
flick he can is classic Ridley Scott. I say that with no judgment, bad or good - I just think that is who he has been for a long time. A very smart businessman who is also a very talented director, who is also known to speak off the cuff and change his mind on a whim. As he did here.
To be clear: I wanted the sequel you wanted. I think the direction of AC is a creative regression, and that disappoints me. I also expect it to be a very fun, scary film.