Media Molecule co-founders came close to depriving the world of Portal, Alex Evans revealed during a Develop conference taking place in Brighton this morning.

In 2005, Evans was working at Bullfrog with fellow Media Molecule co-founders, Mark Healey and Kareem Ettouney.

"At the time we trying to do R&D, trying to work out what the next thing was, doing a lot of concept work," said Evans.

"We worked on a project that actually was shown at GDC that year. It's lost, but if you dig through the GDC vaults there's this little game that never saw the light of day but that had a bunch of ideas in it."

The game in question was known as The Room, and as Media Molecule creative director Mark Healey explained, it had certain similarities to Valve's hit puzzler.

"It was these clay cubes that you make things out of, and then put them through portals and do very trippy things," said Healey.

The similarities didn't go unnoticed, said Evans. "The Portal team who at the time were called DigiPen, they'd made a game called Narbacular Drop and they were in the audience [at GDC]. They went, 'Oh my god, we've done portals too!' and then we had an exciting discussion about Portals."

Healey was already building a relationship with Valve via his work on Ragdoll Kung Fu. The team never signed with the publisher, said Evans, and this might have had significant consequences for gamers.

"If we'd gone to Valve, which was definitely on the cards, would they have hired the Portal team? Would we have screwed the world out of Portal by going to Valve?"

We'll never know.