updated 3/4/2010 3:52:30 PM ET 2010-03-04T20:52:30

Two game studio heads fired by Activision this week are suing the video game publisher, saying it let them go to avoid paying hefty royalties from the popular "Call of Duty."

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Jason West and Vince Zampella are seeking damages "in excess of $36 million," as well as future royalties.

West and Zampella were top executives at Infinity Ward, the studio behind last fall's immensely lucrative "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" and other games.

In a statement Thursday, Activision Blizzard Inc. called the claims "meritless" and said its decision was justified.

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