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Creative Differences

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"Sounds like they're having a spat. One of those 'differences in musical direction' bands are always splitting up over."
Trucy Wright on The Gavinners, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

Creative or artistic differences are often cited by publicists or media companies as the public reason for a performer's decision to leave a TV series or musical group.

  • TV usage: "Bob Smith left the cast of Murder on Trope Street this season over creative differences with the production team."
  • Music usage: "Bassist Alice Jones left Troperhead due to artistic differences with the band."

When they actually mean it, it refers to irreconcilably different artistic visions for the show or band. If they're telling the truth, maybe the new director or producer was pushing the show or band too far in what the performer felt was the wrong direction. Maybe the director wanted more sex and violence on the show to boost ratings, or conversely wanted to remove/tone down the sex and violence to appeal to a broader market. For bands, maybe the bandleader or producer was trying to get the band to tag along with a new musical trend or fad.note 

But nine times out of ten, it really means the person quit or got fired due to personal clashes or misconduct note  and the PR team is trying their best to sugarcoat it for the media. At least, until the tell-all book comes out, or the social media blowup occurs.

Also, anytime someone mentions "scheduling conflicts," it likely means there's been a conflict between the actor or director and producers or studio. Then the actor/director quits or is fired. If there's only one constant member and a steady flow of departures and inductions, this is usually an indication of a Prima Donna Director at the very least and is also usually a sign that the lone holdout is a total diva who doesn't know how to share the spotlight. If the reverse is true and one person gets fired from everything they're involved in (or quits under contentious circumstances), odds are that they're a complete pain to work with and wear out their welcome in short order.

A frequent joke that's made by observers in this situation is that the creative differences were simple: Either "She/he was creative, the [producers/rest of the band] weren't." or "[They] wanted to be creative, She/he wanted to be different.", depending on who is felt to be the more talented party.

A common factor behind Revolving Door Bands. See also Hostility on the Set.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure 02:
    • The two head writers for this series Genki Yoshimura and Atsushi Maekawa had two very different styles of writing, Maekawa's being story driven light-hearted stories, and Yoshimura's being character driven darker stories, both were told to write in their own preferred styles. This lead to them not seeing eye to eye on how the story should go, which resulted in a lot of fillers, to cover up for the time where they couldn't come to an agreement.
    • Meanwhile, the head writer for Adventure, Satoru Nishizono, left the Digimon project because he didn't want for a sequel to his series to be made.
    • Much of the main staff including Chiaki Konaka couldn't stand the executive meddling anymore, and so were ready to break their contracts and leave the project, but Bandai, unwilling to let them do this, gave them their own series, to mess around with instead.
  • Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna brought in Hiroyuki Kakudou (director of Adventure and 02) as a creative and lore consultant, but he left the project over the film's premise, which went directly against one of the rules he'd established for that continuity; that being anyone can have a Digimon, regardless of age.
  • The 2001 anime adaptation of Fruits Basket, produced by Studio DEEN, had a lot of disagreements going on behind the scenes. Creator Natsuki Takaya—who, due to a hand injury, had to take a break from drawing the manga and was able to have more direct involvement with the anime—and director Akitaroh Daichi drove each other nuts. During production, Takaya gained a reputation for being a control freak; for one, she demanded that big-name voice actors be cast for her characters, something Daichi normally avoids. She also had issues with the character designs and how the anime's tone was Lighter and Softer with more emphasis on comedy. By the time the anime finished airing, she was highly disappointed with how it turned out. It would never have a second season since DEEN wouldn't let any director except Daichi handle the series, and Daichi has made it very clear he won't work with Takaya again. It took nearly 18 years for there to be another anime adaptation that would be more faithful to the original manga's plot and tone, but this time handled by TMS Entertainment and with a completely different voice cast.
  • Around two-thirds of the way through the anime adaptation of His and Her Circumstances, the creative differences between author Masami Tsuda and director Hideaki Anno reached to the point that she demanded him to be dismissed; Anno made the anime far too comedic for Tsuda's tastenote ; she wanted a more angsty and plot-driven series, similar to the angstier turns that the story would eventually take. Once Anno left, his assistant Kazuya Tsurumaki completed the series... ironically, making it even more comedic in process. On the other hand, back then Tsurumaki's style wasn't the screwball type GAINAX was in general and he in particular would later become famous for, but in more conventional Romantic Comedy, which was more acceptable for the mangaka.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino and Mamoru Nagano famously clashed in both their best known collaborations, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Heavy Metal L-Gaim. Tomino, who was heavily depressed at the time, tended to create bleak, somber works filled with angst and suffering, while Nagano, while not without an occasional GRIMDARK moment of his own, nevertheless wished for less dark storytelling and, being infamously possessive of his works, a bigger creative control. Things were hot enough that Nagano ended up starting his own L-Gaim, and Tomino made him one of the prototypes for the main Zeta villain, Paptimus Scirocco. Their creative clashes were exacerbated by the fact that both men were competing for the affections of the Zeta seiyuu Maria Kawamura. The rumor goes that Tomino is still somewhat bitter over the fact that not only Kawamura chose Nagano over him, but they're Happily Married for many years.
  • According to other cast and crew members, this is the reason why Tracey Moore quit her title role in the DiC dub of Sailor Moon after roughly 13 episodes. Apparently, Moore (who was also the original voice director) was very stressed with the workload the show brought her, and her duties were given to other people.
    • Specifically, she didn't get along with Nicole Thuault, the dubbing studio (Optimum Productions)'s producer. The next two voice directors (Roland Parliament and John Stocker) were also fired over creative differences with her, and Nicole took matters into her own hands and directed the dubs for S/SuperS herself, even though she was a French speaker that spoke almost no English.
  • Ian James Corlett quit his role as the original English voice of Goku in Dragon Ball Z after 35 episodes because of a nasty fallout with The Ocean Group. His roles in Ranma ½ were also replaced.
  • Kyoko Mizuki and Yumiko Igarashi got into many legal fights over Candy♡Candy and both came to resent it.
  • The two producers for The Sensualist no longer speak, and it's the reason the film has yet to see any kind of release post-VHS.
  • Takeshi Shudō, the original head writer for Pokémon: The Original Series, had envisioned the show as one that could be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. His blogs reveal that this did not sit well with a lot of the staff, especially one he refers to as "omae-sama." Eventually, Shudo got fed up with how the show became overly kid-focused and left during the Johto League. On a lesser note, his original idea for the third movie was rejected by the staff, who thought it lacked success potential. In this case, it was probably for the best, since the third movie he went with is considered a contender for the best movie in the series to this day.
  • Shirobako has an In-Universe example which hit the studio the series follows badly. Because the editor sent by the book's publishing house is a Lazy Bum, a crisis is formed when the original author of 3rd Aerial Girls Squad is unhappy with certain design and plot decisions by the studio which could cause an Executive Veto and the show (and the studio) to fail. Both times, it causes months of planning on multiple projects to go flying out the window and makes an already difficult production process much worse.
    • The first issue comes up in Episode 15, when the editor reveals the author didn't like the designs of the characters and makes the studio redo them... right after they completed animation on the first episode.
    • The second issue happens in Episode 22, where the editor reveals that the author didn't like the show's script for not being a Downer Ending, right when the studio had nearly finished production of the series! Kinoshita, the show's director is so pissed that he arranged a meeting with the author himself and gets the editor fired. The author is reasonable enough to allow for the studio to write a Bittersweet Ending very close to the original to prevent massive Mood Whiplash.
  • According to this interview, Noriaki "Tite" Kubo wasn't exactly happy with the changes made to the Bleach anime. Kubo says that at some point that the differences between manga and anime caused him "stomach aches", so later he demanded to be sent the scripts so he could correct them.

    Comic Books 
  • John Wagner and Alan Grant had a bit of a falling out in the late 80s over the direction in which to take Judge Dredd; Wagner wanted to humanize Dredd more, while Grant wanted to Flanderize him into being more of a dark parody of strict authority figures. As the strip's original creator, Wagner won out, and so Grant left, but as a consolation was made the sole writer for Strontium Dog.
  • John Byrne left the The Uncanny X-Men after a very successful run that included The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past because he became increasingly frustrated with writer Chris Claremont ignoring what he had drawn in favor of writing his own interpretation.
    Byrne: That was the argument that Chris and I always had was that Chris didn't write the picture. And so I eventually reached the point where I said "Maybe I should be writing the picture."
    • In the end, this same situation, only reversed in the outcome, was part of what drove Claremont to finally end his long run on X-Men and leave Marvel altogether for a few years. In the last year or so of his run, Jim Lee would send him finished artwork, essentially saying "write a story around that". Bob Harras, the Editor in Chief, was starting to side with the new crop of superstar artists, and Claremont grew fed up with the situation. Claremont later said Lee had wanted a return to the classic X-Men stories he grew up reading with Magneto as a villain and Claremont had "Been there, done that."
    • In reading Jim Shooter's blog, this seems to be a constant source of tension between writer and artist. The writer often wants the scene visualized as he or she writes it in the script due to the necessities of storytelling (Shooter, for instance, writes long descriptions and even at times sends reference photos or sketches along to clarify how things should look). Meanwhile, the artist believes him or herself responsible for the visual look of the pages and may see things very differently from an artistic standpoint.
  • The original head writers for Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Ken Penders and Karl Bollers, came to butt heads very badly at the end of their run, leading to both of them to quit, though it's said that Karl was the only one who quit and Ken was "let go". Their fighting got so vicious and resulted in so much Kudzu Plot and Aborted Arc that the next writer, Ian Flynn, had to spend the entire first year of his run untangling the insane mass of plot threads the two left in their wake.
    • To better understand this: Ken Penders was head writer for a time but then following issue 50 went to focus on the Knuckles comic. Karl took over and the two seemed to be out of each other's hair until the Knuckles comic was canceled, putting the two head writers together. For a while, Ken had Knuckles back-up stories to Karl's main Sonic stories, but when the back-ups were abandoned, the two ended up working together and the messes began.
  • When Morbius the Living Vampire's first solo series started in the early 1990s, it was helmed by writer Len Kaminski and penciler Ron Wagner. Wagner, however, felt that Kaminski's stories were too character-driven, and according to Kaminski complained about this to Marvel's editorial staff as well as leaving "snide margin notes in which he made his personal opinion of my plots clear". Moreover, Wagner ignored Kaminski's attempts to get in touch with him so that they could discuss how the comic should be done. After 9 issues of this Kaminski had had enough and quit.
  • This was a major reason for the short run of the original Hawk and Dove. Steve Skeates and Steve Ditko were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, which meant that a comic based on the pro-and-anti-war debates of the day would naturally lead to a lot of arguments. According to Skeates, Ditko would go so far as to rewrite pages where Dove did something and change it to Hawk doing those things. The book's creative team was in constant flux as a result.
  • This was the reason why Jonboy Meyers left from Benjamin Percy's DC Rebirth run of Teen Titans.
  • The original creative team of Spider-Man, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, eventually split after the comic's third year. While for years rumors insisted the falling-out was over disagreements over the identity of the Green Goblin (Spidey's arch-enemy caused his creators to split! It's almost too poetic), Ditko made a statement shortly before his death setting the record straight, that Osborn being the Goblin was one of the few things he and Stan agreed on. The split was due to the two men's very different attitudes, personalities, and politics, similar to Lee's contretemps with Jack Kirby. The first issue of Spider-Man with John Romita replacing Ditko as artist had a vague statement from Stan on the letters page simply stating that Ditko had left due to "personal reasons".
  • The reason Mark Waid spent the 2010s away from DC Comics, despite his professed love for The DCU and everything about it, stems largely to the trouble he had working with co-publisher Dan DiDio. Didio spent the entirety of 52 complaining about the creators going off the initial plan, which as Waid was part of the group of writers meant he was one of the figures to experience this. Later, DiDio torpedo'd Waid's return to The Flash before the first issue had released, as he'd decided to bring back Barry Allen and have him replace Wally West. With Waid forced to write for a series that only existed to bridge time until Barry's return and the launch of his book, Waid quit DC under tense terms, jumping ship to Marvel. When DiDio left DC in early 2020, Waid came back to DC.

    Fan Works 
  • The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum ran into this problem between the head writer Redskin122004 and the co-authors he brought on to the project, most notably over certain plot points, issues in the side stories, and the depictions of certain characters (particularly the Human Liberation Front, Celestia, Discord, and Chrysalis). Over the course of 2016, these creative disagreements progressively worsened and became increasingly personal. According to Doctor Fluffy, VoxAdam, Kizuna Tallis, Sledge115 and Jed R, working on Spectrum through that year was a deeply stressful experience creatively and personally. This culminated in the team splitting up on May 2017, with the five aforementioned authors (plus a few others) going on to launch a reboot of the story and start over fresh.
  • In The Flash Sentry Chronicles, Banshee531 and his editor AandWGuy have differencing opinions on Grand Hoof. While Banshee531 has said that Grand Hoof is his favorite character, he revealed in the author’s notes of the chapter "Retirement" during Defender of the Peace Season 5, that AandWGuy does not like him.
  • The Little Pony Legend: Ultimately this is what stalled out the Journey of Iris part of the saga. Apparently there was a quarrel between the original author and Equestriakin over backstories and length for the story among other things, and eventually Maggiesheartlove decided to take back full creative control of the story. The party was amicable thankfully, but did stall the release time.
  • Prehistoric Earth: A massive number of these unfolded between co-authors Drew Luczynski and Nathanoraptor over the course of writing. In fact, quite often the story ended up on unintentionally long hiatuses due to disagreements between the two writers over characters (i.e. Luczynski having low faith in some of the characters' ability to carry a story on their own and wanting for the story to revolve more around a single clear cut main protagonist, Nathanoraptor taking umbrage to Luczynski trying to push his own personal favorite into a prominent position too early, etc.) and story direction. Eventually, after one especially long hiatus triggered by these disagreements, they were eventually able to work out a system that largely put an end to the problem. And even this wasn't enough to prevent a few more minor instances of this from occurring afterward, or Luczynski from eventually developing Creator's Apathy and later outright trying to disavow his involvement with the story altogether.
  • In A Saga of Parallel Worlds, Nivek (the betareader for the first two chapters) and the author have fallen out over the direction of this AVGN AU. Nivek wanted the author to remove all content from his pop culture TL, while the author wanted to create new spins on some content from it.

    Films — Animated 
  • This was the reason given for Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg parting ways in the late 80s. The real reason was never made public, but neither of them enjoyed the same level of success in animated movies afterward (this came back for Bluth when Spielberg eventually co-founded DreamWorks Animation with Disney boss Jeffrey Katzenberg; Bluth was unable to keep up, and Katzenberg eventually moved on without Spielberg himself outside of encouragement; Bluth resurfaced in 2016 with a Dragon's Lair film in pre-production). And the whole reason Bluth left Disney and created his own animated films in the first place, in the middle of the production of The Fox and the Hound.
    • As for Jeffrey Katzenberg, the desire to try to make Darker and Edgier Disney fare after he misstepped in such waters with The Black Cauldron in 1985 helped lead to him leaving Disney himself; DreamWorks's earlier films were somewhat darker and more Fanservice-heavy than Disney's films at the time (ironically, Katzenberg was the third Disney supremo who tried to push for dark Disney after his predecessor Ron Miller and Walt himself before both of them; the first five Disney Animated Classics and The Fox and the Hound had some dark material in them).
  • Director Roger Allers saw two while in Disney. First his co-director in King of the Jungle, which would become The Lion King, George Scribner, left disagreeing with Allers and the producers wanting to make the movie a musical, when he wanted a documentary-like film more focused on natural aspects. And then Allers himself left Kingdom of the Sun as his intent of making another dramatic musical clashed with Mark Dindal pushing for a screwball comedy, which was what Disney sided with to rework the project into The Emperor's New Groove.
  • While Twice Upon a Time was eventually finished and had a theatrical and home video run, writer and director John Korty and producer Bill Couturié had pretty different ideas of what the movie was supposed to be like, to where two different cuts of the movie exists: The Couturié cut contains frequent swearing and lewd innuendo, while the Korty cut excises all swearing (save for a mild Precision F-Strike that gave it a PG rating). That these two would not yield an inch from their stances is why Twice Upon a Time was unavailable for television airing or home video release after 1998—any attempt to show or distribute the movie would lead to the person responsible for the other cut threatening legal action. Though that changed in 2015, when Warner Archive released both cuts on DVD.

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • After his experience with Firefly, Joss Whedon refused to work with FOX for years because of this, foremost being an early cancellation. He only relented with Dollhouse because star Eliza Dushku had a 3-series deal with the network; Dushku brought Whedon in.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Maureen O'Brien, who played Vicki, got on very well with William Hartnell both in-character and on-set. When a new production team led by John Wiles took over, he began moving the show in a Darker and Edgier, Failure Hero-led, Internal Deconstruction direction that Hartnell disliked. O'Brien formed a team with him and supported all of Hartnell's attempts to Wag the Director, and Wiles decided to fire her in the hope of breaking Hartnell. Vicki was first pencilled in to be killed off, but was eventually Put on a Bus to Hell to get rid of the actress sooner.
    • William Hartnell's departure was also at least in part due to creative differences with a new production team (although his failing health was also a factor). He saw the show as a children's programme, but the new producers had other ideas. "So did I, so I left", as he said in a letter to a fan.
    • During the Troubled Production of "Nightmare of Eden", the entire cast and crew had it in for the director Alan Bromly, an ageing director pulled out of retirement, unused to modern production schedules and values and with a very authoritarian attitude. This especially inflamed Tom Baker, who had been Wagging The Director frequently and who felt he was best when he could Throw It In! and do unscripted business. Seeing Bromly as incompetent, Baker took rather sadistic pleasure using his acerbic wit to bully and humiliate him in front of the crew, eroding his authority further, and their animosity eventually culminated in a screaming match between them in the BBC corridors which producer Graham Williams had to intervene in. The chaos had sent recording well behind schedule and Bromly was decided to have been responsible. Bromly quit, citing creative differences with Baker, and Williams, who had become sick of Baker's difficult personality already, announced his intention to quit at the end of the season also because of creative differences with Baker. Williams' replacement was John Nathan-Turner, who Baker hated, and who wanted a new Doctor to leave his stamp on the show - so Baker eventually left the role stating he felt he had no further to go with his character and citing creative differences with Nathan-Turner.
    • On "State of Decay", writer Terrance Dicks and director Peter Moffatt clashed with script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. They were in favour of a Hammer Horror approach, which he didn't think was the style that he wanted for the series.
    • The most notorious and damaging example was the conflict between the producer John Nathan-Turner and script editor Eric Saward over the ending of the "Trial of a Time Lord" season. Saward, out of his general love for Darker and Edgier content and his hero worship of the recently departed writer of the arc Robert Holmes, wanted the season to end with a Cliffhanger in which the Doctor and his Enemy Without the Valeyard were seemingly either dead or trapped eternally in a Sealed Evil in a Duel situation. Nathan-Turner felt, with considerable justification, that since the BBC wanted to cancel the show altogether, writing an ending that could be seen as a Bolivian Army Ending for the whole show was a very bad idea. Saward, whose relationship with Nathan-Turner was already strained due to personality clashes and his belief that Nathan-Turner was paying insufficient attention to the artistic content of the series, accused Nathan-Turner of having no respect for Holmes' last work, quit with no finalised script for the final episode, threatened to sue the BBC if they made a final episode with any similarity to any draft he'd worked on, and then gave an interview to a fan publication viciously slagging off Nathan-Turner. The whole affair led to a somewhat disjointed on-screen end to a season that, in reality, had been seen as the show's make-or-break chance to avoid cancellation, and contributed to the show's actual cancellation a few years afterwards.
    • Christopher Eccleston left the revival, due to his fights with the executives "over the way things were being run", and, according to him, his distaste for non-acting personnel getting bullied by directors. He wouldn't return to the show until fifteen years later, when it was confirmed that Eccleston would reprise his role as the Ninth Doctor in the audio plays.
  • A notable play on this phrase came when Harry Shearer left Saturday Night Live in 1984. When a reporter mentioned to Shearer that this trope was the show's stated reason for his departure, he quipped, "Yeah, I was creative, and they were different."
  • Conan O'Brien left the The Tonight Show in the beginning of 2010, after only six months of hosting it, due to his refusal to let NBC move the show a half hour later in their schedule in order to give the fledgling Jay Leno Show a boost in ratings, claiming that it would ultimately be detrimental to The Tonight Show. At the end of the day, Conan left because Leno had the better contract. Leno's primetime show was tanking in the ratings to the point that local affiliates, worried about flagging viewership for the 10/11-o'clock news due to the unpopular Leno lead-in, threatened to drop it themselves. NBC was forced into a situation where somebody had to go. Breaking Conan's contract cost NBC $45 million, but breaking Leno's would have cost $100 million, so NBC presented Conan with an unacceptable situation to convince him to accept a buyout. A month later, Conan was gone and Leno was back on The Tonight Show.
  • Power Rangers writer Judd Lynn eventually quit because of creative differences with Executive Producer Jonathan Tzachor (funny enough, Lynn would replace Tzachor as EP years later when the latter was fired after a much maligned 4-year run). Jackie Marchand also left at the same time as Lynn, though she would return to the show two years later at which point, it changed hands from Saban Entertainment to Disney.
  • For several years, Carroll O'Connor refused to work with CBS after they denied him the chance to shoot a series finale for the All in the Family-spinoff Archie Bunker's Place. He would eventually return to work with them on the In the Heat of the Night television series in 1992, after the show moved to the network from NBC.
  • This is the reason Ronald D. Moore left Star Trek: Voyager and effectively Star Trek itself after more than a decade of writing for three different series. He apparently couldn't abide the controlling nature of how the show was written.
  • Jack Klugman didn't care for Glen A. Larson's approach on Quincy, M.E., eventually telling NBC that either Larson left or he would. The network chose Klugman (the show lasted a lot longer without Larson than with, effectively vindicating Klugman... soapboxing and all).
  • This was the bane of J. Michael Straczynski's TV show endeavours, and the reason for the death of Crusade before it got a chance to mature and Jeremiah being cancelled after two seasons. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was a particularly severe case for him, as the Mattel execs who commissioned the series saw it as little more than a vehicle to sell toys to children, while Straczynski and the show's other writers saw it as a serious sci-fi story, with rather heavy themes involving nuclear war, fascism, and AI revolt, which ultimately became a major contributing factor to the series' cancellation after only a single season.
  • Chevy Chase gained a certain amount of notoriety both among fans and his coworkers for being outspoken regarding what he thought was the poor quality of Community, and for feuding with series creator Dan Harmon behind the scenes over it. He ended up quitting the show in November 2012 with only two episodes left of the shortened fourth season to film. However, while he was vocal about what he thought was the poor quality of the show, he was willing to return to film a brief cameo appearance in Season 5, indicating that the feud between himself and Harmon has largely been resolved or was overstated.
  • An inversion of the typical "actor/writer leaves because he's pissed with the producers" setup of this trope was Growing Pains, where it was the producers who quit after Kirk Cameron became a born-again Christian and started forcing his values onto the production, pissing off just about the entire cast and crew in the process. The producers did try to get rid of Kirk first, but ABC executives told them basically "It's not your faces on the cover of Tiger Beat", so they left.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino left the Netflix live-action series adaptation in June 2020 because of unspecified creative differences with Netflix but didn't announce it until two months later.
  • On September 16, 2019, it was confirmed that Steve S. DeKnight departed Jupiter's Legacy as showrunner over "creative differences" in the midst of production for the first season.
  • There were disagreements on the set of Keeping Up Appearances between writer Roy Clarke and producer-director Harold Snoad, mostly that Roy Clarke rarely watched his own shows, and although he wrote witty dialogue, the practicalities of the scripts were often hopelessly implausible, or left to the discretion of Snoad. Patricia Routledge refused to act some of the scenes as they were first written, because she thought they were too unbelievable. Harold Snoad ended up rewriting many of the episodes.

  • This is believed to be one of the MANY reasons why Bizzy Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony wanted to stay away from the group for awhile, as his solo music was going into a completely different direction.
    • After the post 2010 implosion of the group, many think that Krayzie Bone is now having creative differences with the group and vice versa.
  • Ryan Ross and Jon Walker as of July 2009 left Panic! at the Disco to form their own band, The Young Veins (whose sound is completely different from their previous band; compare Panic's latest song "New Perspective" with TYV's "Change" ), for this stated reason. This led to many fans casting blame on them for not trying hard enough to work out the differences with fellow band mates Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith.
  • Why Cee Lo Green left Goodie Mob to eventually form Gnarls Barkley. Goodie Mob had eschewed the social-consciousness of their first two albums in favor of a more crunk style with World Party, which Cee-Lo hated. Judging from his solo albums and work with Danger Mouse, it's very similar to the Sliders case. He was creative; they weren't.
  • Inverted with the The Beautiful South who, according to leader Paul Heaton, split due to 'musical similarities'.
  • The Beatles all seemed to develop different musical styles by the mid-60s (The White Album was seen by many fans as being "four solo albums in one" rather than a true band album), and they began to feel a bit of this. Especially George Harrison, whose growing songwriting skills weren't fully acknowledged by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The movie Let It Be is essentially what happens when someone has a film camera and films a band suffering from Creative Differences — lots of bitter, snide passive aggressive sniping. There's one famous scene with Paul McCartney and George Harrison having a bitter fight over a chord.
  • The Adventures of Duane & BrandO experienced this trope at one point. It turned from a permanent breakup in to a 6 month hiatus, with the band members claiming that the breakup was over a stolen ice cream sandwich (it really dealt with extramarital affair) and keeping their respective new projects open for when they needed to do solo work.
  • This was said to be the reason why Dave Navarro was fired from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • On April 9, 1962, prior to a Carnegie Hall performance of Brahms' Piano Concerto in D minor with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic and Glenn Gould as the soloist, Bernstein uttered an unusual disclaimer that he would conduct the piece according to Gould's unorthodox conception, one quite incompatible with his own. Though he allowed due respect for Gould's artistry despite their creative disagreement, his introductory speech became somewhat notorious.
  • Nodded to by Disney sitcom Even Stevens. When asked about the creative differences that led to the breaking up of the band with friend Twitty, Louis explains, "I'm creative, and he's different."
  • There were lots of other factors, but part of the reason for At The Drive-In breaking up was a legitimate case of this - Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez wanted to explore Progressive Rock and experimental influences, while the rest of the band wanted to play melodic Post-Hardcore. This is pretty obvious if you compare the two groups they splintered off into, The Mars Volta and Sparta.
  • Supertramp lost Roger Hodgson to this.
    • Hodgson has implied that though he and Rick Davies did have many widening creative and personal differences, that Roger left the band at least in part due to his wish to settle down, learn how to raise a family, and get away from the grind of the album-tour-album-tour rock lifestyle. Hodgson also felt disenchanted with the state of the music industry at the time (and the loss of intimacy of the Arena Rock shows the band were now playing post-Breakfast In America), and had wanted not to be away from his wife or children for long tours and see his kids grow up with an unavailable father.
  • There was always some tension between multi-instrumentalist John Cale and front-man Lou Reed during their days in Velvet Underground, but matters came to a head in the summer of 1968 when deciding what to do after the sonic assault of White Light/White Heat. The final result was Reed threatening to dissolve the group unless Cale was sacked, with which Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker reluctantly complied.
  • Though only Greg Ginn knows for certain why he chose to break up Black Flag, Henry Rollins is certain that the break-up was because of this: Black Flag kept changing musical direction to the point of confusing fans, and Rollins suggested to Ginn that they release similar-sounding albums consecutively to stabilize their direction. Ginn, who up to that point had been unchallenged in determining the band's direction, was taken aback, assholishly retaliated by burying Rollins' vocals in the mix of their last album In My Head, and Black Flag broke up soon thereafter.
  • This was the reason that Moonshake effectively split into two bands after one full album and an extended play, Dave Callahan and Mig Moreland continuing as Moonshake while Margaret Fiedler and John Frenett formed Laika. Many fans consider Laika the "true" continuation of the band and discount the two later albums under the Moonshake name.
  • The Police broke up expressly because of this trope. They had already been drifting along and were quasi-disbanded after 1983's Synchronicity, but they decided to get into the studio to record a new album as well as an update of some of their older hits. They only made it as far as "Don't Stand So Close To Me", the recording of which was largely eaten up by petty arguments between Stewart Copeland and Sting over instruments to use. Sadly, Copeland later mentioned that part of the problem was that he had broken his collarbone playing polo, meaning he was unable to actually do any drumming note . He went on to say that had the band been able to jam and get out any pent-up aggression that way, The Police might not have broken up.
  • This was basically the reason given for Florian Schneider leaving Kraftwerk, after four decades of being in the band no less.
  • In 1979, Rick Wright left/was sacked from Pink Floyd. Roger Waters stated that "Our paths were not parallel enough." This statement euphemized a vicious falling out caused by (on one hand) Waters giving his own control freak tendencies free rein and (on the other hand) Wright concentrating on solo work instead of contributing to the band. Oh, and him developing "a nasty cocaine habit" as well.
  • The reason why Dennis Stratton was fired from Iron Maiden. He was writing songs that Steve Harris felt were too poppy, and when the band rejected them, he left. There were also other creative\personality clashes (Stratton only joined the band because he needed work, was unwilling to listen to heavy music all the time like the other bandmembers and at a certain point travelled separatedly from them, and his attempt to mix "The Phantom of the Opera" in a Queen-like manner was promptly rejected by Steve).
    • According to the man himself, their early vocalist Paul Di'Anno was so bored of playing metal that he started drinking heavily. This alcoholism caused the band to fire him, which he apparently didn't mind that much. He much preferred to play punk music, and somewhat resented the fact that he'd missed out on the first wave of British punk by playing in a metal band during that time. Later on, he's had to return to the old Iron Maiden songs.
    • Adrian Smith left early in the production of No Prayer for the Dying because he was unhappy with the direction the band was taking. One album later, Bruce Dickinson decided to go away as he was becoming burnt out and wanted to focus more on his solo career. Both would end up rejoining the band by the end of the decade.
  • Reports of the 2013 breakup of The Jonas Brothers allude to this.
  • Cynic have had this happen to them more than once. The Focus line-up dissolved due to the members all trying to pull the band in different musical directions. Similarly, Tymon Kruidiner and Robin Zielhorst left after Re-Traced due to them not agreeing with Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert over musical direction.
  • The Faceless has had a lengthy history of this to the point where they have had two complete lineup departures (one over the course of several months, the other over the course of a day). While Michael Keene's drug issues and unpleasant personality were known but unspoken in industry circles and were the cause of most of the departures, it wasn't until the second mass departure in March of 2018 that a former member told the world just what the deal was, as an Instagram post from Keene that contained an egregious example of Never My Fault kicked off a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from former guitarist Justin McKinney, who publicly eviscerated him.
  • Cattle Decapitation departed with Dave Astor over a case of this that was equal parts creative (they wanted to write more complex and death metal-based material, he wanted to stick to grindier fare; some of this may have been due to his stagnating technical ability and apparent refusal to take lessons) and personal (relations with him and the rest of the band, especially Travis Ryan, had deteriorated to the point where he had to go or the band would likely collapse). They still haven't reconciled with him, and given Ryan's notoriously strong dislike for him, it's highly unlikely that they ever will.
  • Ovid's Withering was already on the cusp of breakup when they were signed to Unique Leader Records and had a US tour on the way after the other members learned that Aaron Rodriguez had, on multiple occasions, pressured the wives and girlfriends of his bandmates to cheat on them with him or send him foot pictures. They soldiered on because they had bigger tours on the way, but after they learned that he had solicited foot pictures from an underage girl, they were completely revolted, quit on the spot in disgust, and severed all ties with him. Because Ovid's Withering was largely his vision, it will never come back in any recognizable form.
  • This is what caused Alterbeast to lose everyone in the band and ruined relations between Andrew Lamb and most of the other personnelnote . A lengthy and somewhat troubled US tour had brought his controlling tendencies to the forefront, and his anger at having to go through what were apparently unpleasant but expected pitfalls of being in a low-level touring act magnified those tendencies. After tensions between him and everyone else (including former drummer and emergency fill-in Gabe Seeber) had reached a boiling point, the band dropped off the tour early, went home, and dissolved almost completely save for Lamb, who spent the better part of the year rebuilding the band.
  • Warbringer has had a lot of departures that have mostly been due to their heavy touring schedule, but a few were truly creative (John Laux) and personal (Ben Bennett). The former had been growing tired of metal and heavy music in general for a while, and by Kevill's admission, some of the more upbeat punk-influenced material on IV: Empires Collapse was intended to placate him (which failed, as he left almost right after the album dropped). Bennett, meanwhile, had started out as a live fill-in on their early tours due to Andy Laux's inability to tour (as he was still in high school) before being made full-time, and his arrogance, incredibly abrasive personality, and drug issues made him quickly wear out his welcome and culminated in an incident on a very large tour where he kept making incredibly cruel and hurtful personal digs at Nic Ritter that finally resulted in Ritter running out of the van and punching a dumpster hard enough to break his hand, which put him out of commission for the rest of the tour and made Kevill angry enough to pull Bennett out of the van and stomp on his head before kicking him out the minute the tour had concluded.
  • This happened to The Kentucky Headhunters. Lead singer Ricky Lee Phelps wanted to sing more traditional country instead of the Headhunters' style of Southern rock, so he and his brother Doug (then the group's bassist) quit the Headhunters in 1993 to form Brother Phelps. Mark S. Orr and Anthony Kenney took over on lead vocals and bass respectively, but Orr only lasted for one album because of creative differences of his own — he wanted to "do something else", while fans, critics, and even the rest of the band thought that his vocal style didn't fit. As a result, Doug parted ways with his brother and rejoined the Headhunters, taking over his brother's former role as lead singer (while also becoming a Lead Bassist after Kenney quit).
  • This happened to obscure Country Music duo Bomshel twice. Originally, it consisted of Buffy Lawson and Kristy Osmunson, a lineup which recorded a three-song EP and a song from the soundtrack to Evan Almighty. When Lawson quit over creative differences, Osmunson found Kelley Shepard to replace her, and the new lineup was quick to disown three of the four songs recorded when Lawson was still a member. The lineup fronted by Shepard managed to release one full album in 2009, but Shepard also quit abruptly in 2012 to form another duo called American Young.
  • Outkast got started in the mid-90s as a standard southern hip-hop duo, but in later albums, Andre3000 began experimenting with funk and rock and took on a Cloud Cuckoolander persona, while Big Boi became "the normal one" who maintained a more thuggish image. On one hand, this dynamic led to their most famous work as their two styles blended together. Unfortunately, they never stopped diverging, which made their breakup inevitable. Their last conventional album together was 2000's Stankonia. After that, they released a few new songs for compilation albums and movie soundtracks to make it seem like they were still working together, but it was during this time that they started drifting apart. Their next big release, 2004's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, was simply two solo albums packaged together, and they only appeared together in three songs. After that was the 2006 musical film Idlewild. Its accompanying soundtrack is officially an Outkast album, but again there are only three songs featuring both rappers. They have been pursuing solo careers ever since. Even though they'll occasionally reunite onstage to perform their old hits, they've both made it clear that they have no interest in making new music together.
  • Why Sabaton changed every member except lead vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström after recording Carolus Rex in 2012. They were pretty open about the dispute: the other members (guitarists Rikard Sundén and Oskar Montelius, drummer Daniel Mullback, and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr) wanted to tour less, despite the band's growing international popularity, and have more input into songwriting, and split from the band amicably to form Civil War. Brodén and Sundström recruited new guitarists and drummers for the subsequent Swedish Empire Tour, and is heard thanking the audience at Woodstock Festival Poland on Swedish Empire Live for accepting the new members.
  • Queensrÿche took this to new levels. After Geoff Tate was dismissed for one too many (literally) violent control freak tendencies, he filed a lawsuit for ownership of the band's name and started a new band under that same name; as a result, in 2013 there were two versions of Queensrÿche performing and recording, and each released an album (a Self-Titled Album by the original Queensrÿche and Frequency Unknown by Tate's spin-off). In the end, Tate lost the lawsuit and his band was renamed Operation: Mindcrime, but both bands can still perform material from the Operation: Mindcrime albums.
  • Metalcore band Volumes have had this happen to them twice over the span of their career:
    • The first was the very acrimonious split with co-vocalist Michael Barr. Drug issues and personality conflicts with the rest of the group (especially Gus "YungYogi" Farias) forced him to exit the band near the end of 2015. Barr mostly retired from metal until getting featured on Dualist's Inner Word in 2018. Barr would later rejoin Volumes in 2020.
    • The second time this happened was in late 2019 when vocalist Gus Farias got forced out of the band. According to Gus, bassist Raad Soudani got the rights to Volumes' name and back catalog of music, becoming the full owner of the brand and kicked Gus out. Other have said that Gus was kicked out in combination of drug and personality issues as well as his own trap project, YungYogi, gaining popularity in 2019. Gus has made it very clear that he was forced out and puts the blame squarely on Raad. Subverted with Gus's brother, guitarist, and band co-founder Diego "Yaygo" Farias who left the band around the same time as Gus. Yaygo wasn't touring much with the band other than festival appearances as he realized that production was his true calling and left the band amicably. Tragically, Yaygo's post-Volumes plans won't come to be.
  • Deep Purple's third lineup fell apart because guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was accustomed to being the leading creative force, found himself outvoted musically. Newly recruited bassist/secondary vocalist Glenn Hughes had brought his funk-infused R&B sensitivities with him, and everyone in the band except Blackmore was receptive to this direction. The lineup's first album Burn was still a mostly collaborative work, but during the follow-up Stormbringer, Blackmore sat back and contributed minimally after his proposal for a cover song was unanimously rejected. Near the start of the Stormbringer tour, Blackmore decided to quit the band, and started recording a solo album, which would evolve into the first Rainbow record.
    • With Rainbow, Blackmore was the unambiguous band lead, but it didn't end the creative conflicts around him. The band's first vocalist Ronnie James Dio came with his own powerful creative vision and Heavy Mithril interests, which defined Rainbow's mid-70s aesthetic in concert with Blackmore's tastes. However, come '78 Blackmore had decided to take the band to a more commercial direction, wanting to lighten the sound, focus on contemporary songs with simpler and less mystical lyrics. Dio quit the band over the decision, and while the resulting Down to Earth album was Rainbow's most commercially successful, it lost both its second singer and legendary rock drummer Cozy Powell as Blackmore decided to further continue the commercialization.
  • Green River, one of the first Seattle Grunge bands, broke up prior to the release of their first full length album, Rehab Doll, due to a rift between members: Mark Arm wanted to keep the band independent, while Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament wanted to pursue a major label deal. Mark and fellow member Joe Turner started Mudhoney not long after, while Stone and Jeff would eventually start Pearl Jam. Things were eventually patched up enough that there have been a few sporadic Green River reunion performances.
  • These have been all but stated to be the reason why Tommy "Vext" Cummings was fired from Bad Wolves. While Cummings has maintained that he was fired solely due to his political beliefs and support for Donald Trump and was the subject of a conspiracy by the band and their manager to force him out behind his back, fellow founding member Doc Coyle has heavily implied that it was a long time coming and Cummings' support of the January 6, 2021 insurrection was the last straw, but that he knew or had to have known that the rest of the band was sick of him and that he was treading on thin ice well before that point. Ivan Moody would go on to back Coyle's version of events, and said much the same thing - Cummings had worn out his welcome long before that point, they had every reason to fire him years before they did, and lying through his teeth about his firing and refusing to take responsibility for his actions were classic character traits of his.
  • This happened to Veil of Maya twice. The first was the split with long time vocalist Brandon Butler. Butler wanted the band to stay Deathcore, but band leader Marc Okubo wanted to change their sound. As a result, Butler left the band amicably. The second time was sometime in 2019, where the band had a follow up to 2017's False Idol written, but the actions of someone, in Okubo's words, "left a bad taste in our (Veil of Maya's) mouth." Since the band's lineup remained the same, it's speculated that someone on the production end couldn't get on with Okubo and the rest of Veil of Maya.
  • This, along with record label problems, was a key contributing factor in the break-up of stoner metal band Sleep, with bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Hakius forming the band Om and largely continuing in the more contemplative, drone-oriented direction Sleep had started going with its final release, while guitarist Matt Pike went off to form High On Fire and move in a more aggressive direction. The split was amicable enough that the three reunited to perform live shows as Sleep, and, in 2018, Cisneros and Pike even recording a new album (Hakius having retired in 2009, replaced by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder).
  • Why Josh Middleton left Architects in mid 2023. Middleton wanted to go into a heavier direction, the rest of the band didn't. He also wanted to take his main band, Sylosis, out of Part-Time Hero status. Middleton made it clear that his departure from Architects was a professional split, and he's still on good terms the rest of the band and stays in touch with them.
    Josh Middleton: We were on different pages musically – that’s the best way to put it.
  • Unearth have had several instances of this in their history:
    • In an interview with Decibel Magazine in September 2006, the band's three remaining founding members at the time revealed that they originally came together as a result of creative differences in their previous groupsnote . The band's four original instrumentalists, guitarists Ken Susi and Buz McGrath, bassist Chris "Rover" Rybicki and drummer Mike Rudberg,note  first came together under the name Point 04 in 1997 with a different vocalist, whom Ken and Buz declined to identify by name. They also didn't say much about this person's expulsion beyond that they got sick of him and started looking at other options, with Ken quickly zeroing in on Second Division vocalist Trevor Phipps, whom he knew was having creative issues of his own. Trevor was more revealing about the issues inside Second Division, specifically that he was at odds with the band's lead guitarist, whom he described as an "extreme hardcore kid" who refused to integrate any kind of metal riffs into the band's sound. Ironically, Trevor was actually rather resistant to take a chance on a new project and kept shooting down Ken and the other members, most famously when the group approached him while he was recovering from appendicitis. Ken eventually arranged a Bait-and-Switch by selling Trevor on a side project but making sure Buz knew when they'd be meeting up so they could try selling him again. This last effort finally convinced Trevor to let go of Second Division and join up with Point 04, which took the name Unearth shortly after on Rudberg's suggestion.
    • Also present at the 2006 interview was the band's second full-time drummer, Mike Justian, who replaced Rudberg in early 2004. He would only last another ten months, though: the band put out a press release on May 10, 2007 announcing Justian's expulsion from Unearth effective the previous night. Said presser specifically mentioned both creative and personal differences, but no details ever emerged about the true nature of these differences. Whatever they were, it seems Justian eventually worked them out, at least with Trevor and Buz, as he was brought back in June 2022 following the departure of their fourth drummer, Nick Pierce.
    • The band would recruit Derek Kerswill as their third drummer in late 2007, only for him to leave in October 2010. The press release announcing his departure specified that his departure was amicable and based entirely on "musical differences". Kerswill himself didn't contest this, explaining that he was a "rock-style" drummer who kept getting recruited by metal bands, and that he'd been friends with Unearth prior to his recruitment and figured it would be fun, but burned out within a few years. He even returned for one show in 2011 when the band was between long-term fill-ins.
    • When the band announced that Ken Susi would be going on hiatus in summer 2022, only a few eyebrows were raised at first despite being announced simultaneously with Pierce's departure and the reveal of a new album in development. However, there was quite a stir when As I Lay Dying revealed their new line-up at the same time, which featured both Nick and Ken, taking spots left open by the departures of Jordan Mancino and Nick Hipa, respectively. By that September it had emerged that Ken had actually left in late winter of 2022, hadn't played on the new album and had at most one songwriting creditnote . By the time Ken's departure officially became permanent in March 2023, it had been revealed that he was at odds with Buz over the band's musical direction while his interpersonal relationships with the other members had deteriorated, especially between him and Trevor (As with Justian in 2007, though, specifics about these conflicts have not been revealed by any party.) Both Ken and the remaining members stated that a mutual impasse had been reached and they couldn't salvage their relationship.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • An occasional occurrence in Professional Wrestling, sometimes with mixed results.
    • In Japan, cases such as these are known for splintering companies. Most famous being Shooto and Fighting Network RINGS out of the Universal Wrestling Federation and Pro Wrestling NOAH from All Japan Pro Wrestling. Really, though, a wrestler leaving for any reason might splinter a company, such as Wrestle 1 from All Japan after The Great Muta resigned in penance for Taru assaulting someone during the off hours and then was refused re entry back into the company when the new brass started running it into the ground.
    • WCW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling's agreement fell through due to NJPW not being fans of Vince Russo's booking, Eric Bischoff trying to tell NJPW how to book and WCW trying to enter a talent exchange with All Japan.note 
    • More common in WWE is the phrase "we wish wrestler the best in their future endeavors".
    • There's also "Confronting their personal demons" which usually translates as "too drunk/stoned to work".note 
    • The NWA-TNA agreement actually did end seven years early because of creative differences. The NWA had standards for its titleholders it wanted to directly enforce and TNA had already pulled out of the NWA anyway and wanted to promote material more distinct to its own brand. NWA 'abrogating' the deal is how most news sources reported it, however.
  • This is why what lead to the foundation of NWA FUW. Dante Brown helped save American Combat Wrestling with his investment in it after the Bourbon Street Nightclub ACW ran out of went out of business, leaving the promotion without a home. There were six other investors who came in after the club's closure with their own ideas for what to do with the company though, so he struck out on his own once ACW had somewhat stable foundations again.
  • Dean Ambrose departured from WWE in April 2019, after he turned down a five-year multi-million dollar contract renewal. His exit was so surprising (WWE took the unusual step of acknowledging the rumors of his departure as true three months before his contract expired) that many wrestlers backstage and even some dirt sheet reporters were convinced it was a work. There was hope that, following Roman Reigns' return from his leukemia-related hiatus, that Ambrose would stay, but he had already made his decision by then. Any doubts of him actually leaving were then dashed when he showed up unannounced at AEW's Double or Nothing event. He further elaborated to Chris Jericho his reasoning for his departure on the Talk is Jericho podcast following his AEW debut. In the interview, Ambrose stated that he began considering leaving while he was out for injury. He had been working hurt for many months prior to the injury that nearly ended his career (and his own life as he got a steph infection), and had gotten so miserable during the time off that he realized that he needed to jump ship as soon as he could. Following that, Moxley complained that WWE's writers were forcing him to do promos he found as ridiculous, and one promo he outright refused to do was alleged to have mocked Roman Reigns' leukemia.note  He went to explain that even if AEW had not gone into business, he was still leaving WWE to wrestle elsewhere because of the backstage strife — a point which he stressed by remarking that even if WWE was the only wrestling company in existence he would start another one himself.

  • Gilbert and Sullivan nearly broke apart as a team when Arthur Sullivan complained that he was getting tired of scoring William Gilbert's fantasy musical comedies and Gilbert didn't see what the problem was with them. Eventually, the pair managed to reconcile when Gilbert wrote a more realistic play that turned out to be their greatest work, The Mikado. This conflict can be seen in the film, Topsy-Turvy.

    Video Games 
  • Toby Gard, creator of Tomb Raider, had left the franchise by Tomb Raider II due to being pressured by the higher ups in making Lara Croft to appeal more to the male demographic. Gard didn't like the idea of having Lara's character being over sexualized.
    • Ironically, he later went on to create Galleon, a game which featured two sexy lead females instead of one...
  • Master of Orion III suffered something of a civil war on the creative team between the lead designer and the art director. The lead designer, Alan Emrich, wanted to more or less continue in the tradition of MoO II, adding more features such as religion, governmental corruption and the exploration of black holes, and of course new races and new racial abilities, but not fundamentally breaking away from the 4X Space Opera mold that had made II so successful. The art director, Rantz Hoseley, was having none of that, though: he wanted to have a more realistic simulation of a complex galactic empire, one that you couldn't run yourself and had to automate, and he also hated the humanoid aliens of the series (comparing them to People in Rubber Suits). Hoseley won the internal fight, and Emrich was forced out, leading to Master of Orion III.
  • One of the main reasons along with poor sales as to why many members of Clover Studio left Capcom and became PlatinumGames. They have also grown very disgusted at Sega's marketing for one of their titles, Anarchy Reigns, epecially in the U.S. This is possibly one of the reasons they allowed themselves to branch out to even more companies, like with Konami to develop the gameplay for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and being the main developer for the Nintendo published, Wii U exclusive title, The Wonderful 101 as well as the main exclusive publisher of Bayonetta 2 (with Sega merely owning the IP rights, with no development input).
  • This is the story behind most of the original id Software's departures.
    • Tom Hall was let go due to him not being creatively invested in Doom (it was a bit dark and serious for the wacky mind behind Commander Keen).
    • John Romero was frustrated over Quake being turned from an Action RPG into a shooter in the Doom template at a late stage in the game. He left to form Ion Storm with Tom Hall.
    • Adrian Carmack was essentially fired after Doom³, later suing the company.
  • Akira Sakuma, who created the long-running Momotaro Dentetsu series for Hudson Soft, tweeted after Konami took over Hudson: "As long as there’s a guy named Imura at Konami, I won't make Momotaro Dentetsu."
  • The director of the first Aero Fighters, Shin Nakamura, left Video System over his disagreement with the company's decision to focus development on the Neo Geo (which only supported a standard 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the 3:4 aspect ratio used for Aero Fighters and Turbo Force) and founded Psikyo to continue making shmups in that vein. Ironically, Psikyo would much later release a sequel to Strikers 1945 for the Neo Geo while Video System would develop Aero Fighters 2 and Aero Fighters 3 as Neo Geo games before returning to the original screen orientation for later installments.
  • Julian LeFay, who is affectionately know as the "Father of The Elder Scrolls" because he spearheaded the work on the first two games in the series, Arena and Daggerfall, was a veteran of the early days at Bethesda Softworks, but was left out in the cold by the changes in culture the company underwent in the latter half of the 90s. That he wasn't picked for the development team on the third main game in the series he had a big hand in creating, namely Morrowind, was apparently the final straw and he formally quit Bethesda in 1998, citing creative differences as the reason. While LeFay did have some sort of involvement in Morrowind, it appears to have been minimal by all accounts and he is only credited as a contractor on the project.
  • The creator of Harvest Moon, Yasuhiro Wada, left the series after Harvest Moon: Animal Parade due to this. He had wanted the series to be a Slice of Life series about relationships in a small farming village, but Marvelous wanted more emphasis on romance, farming, and gimmicks. After the series deviated too far from his original vision, he left and formed his own studio.
  • Creative differences lead to the cancellation of Darius III (distinct from Darius Gaiden), as explained by Taito employee Takatsuna Senba. While Senba wanted to retain the distinctive multi-screen setup of the previous arcade installments, Taito thought the three-screen monitors were onerous and impractical and tried to get him to develope a single screen game instead. As a result, development stalled and Senba would instead make a new shooter named Metal Black (which is often thought to feature assets repurposed from Darius III).
  • Ulf Andersson, the voice actor of Wolf in PAYDAY 2, didn't provide new voice lines for his character in months. At first, people thought the damage he caused to his vocal cords when he yelled very loudly in a "Twelve Days of Christmas" parody was the reason why he sat out for so long. Ulf later revealed that he had a falling out with his brother, who was the CEO of Starbreeze (the developer and publisher behind the game). Ulf did not like how his brother was running the company as well as his brother's extremely poor attitude, so he quit and went with a few other developers to make their own game, GTFO.

    Web Animation 
  • Initial producer Boyd Kirkland left production of Lobo (Webseries) because he had creative differences with DC since he was unhappy it was retooled from a family-friendly cartoon to an adult-oriented webtoon.

    Web Comics 
  • A source of contention between some fans (and ex-fans) of MegaTokyo is the "creative differences" that led to the break-up between the artist (and current writer) Fred Gallagher and former writer Rodney Caston, ultimately resulting in the comic's turn from straight comedy to dramedy. It is telling that the last comic Rodney wrote before Fred took over predicted exactly how the comic under Fred would be... kinda like a Dating Sim.
  • Hi to Tsuki to Hoshi no Tama: As said in the About Page:
    The idea for HTHT was originally going to be a collaboration between myself and my friend Emily Martha Sorensen of A Magical Roommate and To Prevent World Peace. Creative differences led us to believe that collaborating was not, in fact, a good idea. We each peeled off parts of the concept and went our separate ways with them. Most of the original plan is unfolding here in HTHT.

    Web Video 
  • During the heyday of Stupid Mario Brothers, Dane Kevin Cook had left the cast after the Movie. Rich Alverez claimed it was creative differences. However Cook was more upfront, saying that Rich had stolen Jackie from him, who was his girlfriend at the time.
  • This has happened a few times with Cinemassacre:
    • Mike Matei revealed in a lengthy Reddit post that him and Bootsy had a falling out. With Bootsy no longer involved with Cinemassacre, it's unlikely Board James will ever have a reboot or continuation of any kind without his involvement (the series was finished long before Bootsy left Cinemassacre).
    • Subverted with Kyle Justin. Between a busy home life, personal carpentry business, and just not wanting to be on video led to him not doing much on camera for Cinemassacre. He still helps out from time to time doing sets for the Angry Video Game Nerd.
    • Why Kieran Michael left Cinemassacre in early 2023. In a now deleted podcast, he said he was having issues Screenwave management and wasn't getting paid enough for his work. He also wanted to focus on his own streaming and art. Kieran also made it clear that he has no ill will towards James, Mike, or Tony.
  • This one of the reasons why the Pooh's Adventures community got heated conflicts between the people who are following Yru17's orders (a person who got hooked on the Think of the Children! thing) against those who oppose.

    Western Animation 
  • This was one of the reasons John Kricfalusi was booted off The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • It's been said this is what scuttled John Kricfalusi's reboot of Beany and Cecil in 1988 after only five telecasts, although ABC says it was because of unapproved material and missed deadlines.
  • John Kricfalusi underwent this again over the course of his work on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures when he ended up butting heads with long time mentor Ralph Bakshi over which of them should have been getting more credit for the series' success and who had more creative influence. Kricfalusi argued that his direction for the show and constant pushing for stronger character animation helped make it popular and allowed it an extra edge that most other cartoons of the time didn't have. Bakshi argued that Kricfalusi would have never gotten away with half the stuff he'd managed to fit into the show without Bakshi himself around to keep Executive Meddling off his back so that he could largely do whatever he wanted without challenge. And eventually, it got bad enough that Kricfalusi parted ways with Bakshi and the show as a whole without bothering to return for the show's second season. Ultimately, Kricfalusi and Bakshi both turned out to be right. Without Kricfalusi's bold and daring direction for the series, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures only lasted for six more episodes before getting cancelled entirely, whereas Kricfalusi often found himself almost constantly arguing with executives on his future projects, and more often than not on the losing end of said arguments, due to having never had the chance to learn how to cooperate with them.
  • Continuing the trend with John Kricfalusi, The Ripping Friends was also a victim of this. John and his crew at Spumco hoped to create a Spiritual Successor to Ren & Stimpy with the series, but Executive Meddling from Fox Kids forbade John from using his trademark Off-Model animation style and asked for something more conventional. To make matters worse, production studio Funbag Animation was more than happy to oblige to the executives' demands, as Funbag production manager John Shaw despised Kricfalusi and refused to follow any of his feedback or his style guide. Ultimately, the show came out absolutely nothing like what Kricfalusi wanted, and he has chosen to distance himself from the series in its entirety.
  • The Simpsons went through this with Klasky-Csupo concerning its animation. The studio did the animation for the Tracey Ullman shorts and the first 63 episodes, however the overall look of the animation more often than not was deemed unfitting to the creators' needs, to the point where the first episode was demanded to be redone. The animation was shifted over to Film Roman by the fourth season.
  • This believed to be the reason why Mike Barker left American Dad! five episodes into its first season after moving from FOX to TBS.
  • This occured with the Donald Glover-created Deadpool animated series on FXX on March 24, 2018.
  • In-Universe example in Doug. Doug and Skeeter are working on a Quail Man comic (Quail Man being Doug as a Super Hero) when Skeeter introduces his own hero, the Silver Skeeter. However, Doug doesn't like the Silver Skeeter because his New Powers as the Plot Demands attitude make him too "boring" and the two go at it and separate over it. They do make up and figure out a way to work with it and make Silver Skeeter less powerful.

  • Around the turn of the century, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren collaborated on the SLR McLaren supercar. Production lasted for seven years. When it was time to create a successor, the two companies had different ideas for where that would go and they parted ways. Mercedes created the SLS AMG while McLaren followed up with the MP4-12C.


Video Example(s):



Dylan's singing group breaks up almost immediately when Dolly starts beatboxing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / CreativeDifferences

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