Hmm, I don't know about popular appeal, but it could be interesting.
Imagine it starts as a subsistence farming game. Then war starts, taxes get tougher and tougher. Your side raid the village of supplies. The enemy invade and kill and plunder. You're homeless and move to a city deeper inside your kingdom. No money, you fall into begging and then crime. You make money, but there's a crackdown on crime, so you leave the city and become a highwayman.
I can see a good narrative. Whether it would be fun... who knows?
The basic framework of the above scenario is correct, but I plan to connect events such as above with a narrative hooked, linked to real world historic events.
In the game the above scenario would play out like this. Event/ Henry VIII joins the Pope's Holy League in their war against France. Economy/ The king's Treasury is rapidly drained, and since the Kingdom relies primarily upon Continental merchants for its military supplies, gold flows out of the country. A situation which contributes to a gold shortage, which just aggravates already existing economic distress. The King debases the currency in attempt to accommodate demand for money, which only serves to make the cost of imports increase. The nobility are the most affected by rising costs of imports, because they consume higher quantities of luxuries produced overseas and the rising cost of imports must be met with either higher volumes of exports or increased rents on their lands. For some it meant they would gain a better return from enclosing formerly common lands and pasturing flocks of sheep there instead. The wool would then be exported to the Continent to be processed into textiles. This created a dispensible population of former tenant farmers with no livelihood nor home who had no choice but to become wandering vagabonds and often have little choice to engage in criminal activities, especially with the King's dissolution of the monastaries, which otherwise would have offered meager charitable sanctuary.
After the introduction of the Vagabonds law of 1530 You had to apply for a begging license and it was otherwise illegal to beg unless you were a disabled or an elderly person. As for the rest of the population, they were consigned to publicly funded workhouses. Its no wonder so many in the Tudor era resorted to criminality and brigandage to eke out a living. Historical events just give context to whats happening in the game world and is little different from the lore of traditional fantasy games.