Without spoiling too much, let's just say that the events in DYING LIGHT 2 as well as those that have lead up to DYING LIGHT 2 are very strongly connected with what happened in the first game.

The story of DYING LIGHT 2 takes place several years after the story of DYING LIGHT 1. Kyle Crane was such an important person in all the events that happened in the first game that he must have left at least an impact on what happens in the sequel.

Also, don't forget to claim the Crane Bundle from the DL2 Outfit Collection.