setting up multiple players each with their own data

in the menu I setup a number of players, such as what actor they should spawn with, their colour and their names.
I also configure a number of bots with the same settings.

Now, at the moment, I load the level then create any required local players via the menu code, but I cannot configure the player controllers as these are spawned by the game mode.
I also cannot spawn any AI, as UE4 sees AI Controllers separate to player controllers.

How should I best handle this?
Should I let the gamemode some how query the menu to see how to configure the players and AI?
I would prefer the menu to do this really as it doesnt seem like a thing the gamemode should not be concerned with.

this is still a issue I am trying to resolve.

I am also thinking of making the AI simply hook up to local player/player controller to avoid me having to do tedious casting all over the place, but not sure of the ramifications of doing this.